Keep close count of your nickels and dimes, stay away from whiskey, and never concede a putt.
SAMUEL JACKSON SNEAD, The Education of a Golfer, 1962.
A club member in a red pinstriped blazer and gray-on-black patent-leather shoes was coming out the door of the Pine Tree Golf Club of Delray Beach, Fla., which is characterized by the membership as "selective" rather than "exclusive," when the Cadillac with the West Virginia license plates pulled up. Sam Snead, the 62-year-old mountain of youth, the same Sam Snead once described by Lee Trevino as "the most outstanding athlete the world has ever seen," popped the trunk from a button in the glove compartment, got out on the driver's side and came around.
"Hey, Sambo," said the member. "What's this, no more Continentals?"
"Like the feller says, 'If the price is right,'" said Snead, and opened the trunk. From the hodgepodge of golf and fishing equipment he grubbed fresh balls and began stuffing the pockets of his golf bag. Then he unsheathed a new set of irons. "When I leave the air conditioning off, I get 14 miles to the gallon."
The man hefted one of the irons, giving it a 15-handicap half-swing. "Feels heavy, Sam," he said helpfully.
"Hell, they're for a man," said Sam Snead. "They're not for a damn child." He grinned, the right side of his mouth rising above the left.
An attendant took the bag, and the parking valet took the 14-miles-per-gallon Cadillac, and Snead went inside past the receptionist, who waved cheerfully, and into an elevator to the locker room, where he sat down before a stall marked SNEAD/TUTWILER and began changing to his golf shoes.
"They let me play in the club championship here three years ago," he said, lowering his voice. "I'd never played in one, and they let me in and, boy, you never heard such carrying on. I told Chuck Kelly, 'Listen, I'm playing, but if I win, I'm not taking anything.' I won by 10 strokes, but I couldn't get anybody to bet a damn nickel. Everybody was dying, but they weren't saying anything, and I wasn't, and finally at the banquet I got up and I said, I ain't your champion, Ed Tutwiler is. This is his trophy. I'm just grateful you let me play.' "
The right side of his mouth went up and his voice tightened with pleasure.
"Boy, I never had so many instant admirers."