SI Vault
Charles Brome
July 14, 1975
You're welcome anytime at the country seat of the game, to lose yourself amid its secret gardens or idle in the halls of history
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July 14, 1975

Ramble In Golf's Great House

You're welcome anytime at the country seat of the game, to lose yourself amid its secret gardens or idle in the halls of history

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There is much more. More grass, more flowers, more trees, more leafy and secret places to sit. The flower beds are badly overgrown, but the ladies of the USGA have a Beautification Committee that sometimes finds boys willing to come in and make symbolic gestures at the weeds, and the flowers are gradually gaining. Stop and look at them. They were planted before you were born.

Another set of steps, this time leading into a rectangular clearing. Across the clearing is what appears to be a small drive-in temple. A wonderful building. Not quite of clay and wattles made, but close enough. Six fat, round white pillars hold up a fake Greek roof made of prehistoric plywood. It is one of the ugliest little sheds I have ever seen, and the most charming. Even Gatsby did not have the heart to have it torn down. The paint is peeling badly and the plywood is pretty well shot. If the rich person who sent money for the pond will be kind enough to add a few more dollars...thank you.

This clearing is different, somehow. The grass is strangely coarse and sparse, while everywhere else it is lush. There are no shrubs, no flowers. The wall has turned into a rusty wire-mesh fence, perhaps 20 feet high. This place once had a function.

A tennis court? But why is the grass so poor? Rich people played lawn tennis.

A polo field? Too small, even if they played with midget horses.

Bowling on the green? Not green enough. Croquet? Too high a fence. Marbles? An outdoor pool table? A research laboratory for crab grass? Now you are just guessing.

Aha! A tennis court, but a clay tennis court. Perhaps clay at one end and wattles, whatever they are, at the other. Who knows? Even a clay tennis court that is private is not to be sneezed at, and clay was good enough for Gatsby, who probably played with red tennis balls anyway.

Sooner or later you will have to leave the garden and go into Golf House itself. That is why you came in the first place, in case you have forgotten.

You will feel a little sad to leave, I think, but there is no need to. In the first place, you can come and see the garden again. And in the second place, Golf House has a practically endless supply of its own delights.

Don't go in through the library. Walk around to the front and go in through the entranceway. Be sure to close the door tightly after you so the flies do not get in.

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