The mountain, to Rogers and Nash, is the high, wild Angeles crest which separates Greater Los Angeles from the desert and over which both men drive every day to work from Pasadena to Palmdale. Since neither man is one to welsh on a bet, on Thursday, Oct. 28 they met at the juncture of Foothill Blvd. and Angeles Crest Drive, both prepared for combat. Nash had purchased 100 old driving balls for two cents apiece and Rogers had a pack of new ones. Both men came armed with two clubs, a number-four iron and a putter. At the bar, weapons had been restricted to these. The question was: Which one could get from Pasadena over the mountains 42 miles to Palmdale in the fewest strokes.
At exactly noon the golfers teed off. Their aim was to stay as near to the winding, climbing highway as possible. Once Nash hit a twanging low shot which seemed like a sure winner. Unfortunately for him, it hit a descending Buick, bounced back, rolled crazily down the road and ended up in a clump of brush 10 yards below the startled golfer. But Nash made good shots too. Once he hit what will probably go down on record as the longest drive in history. It carried over 5,000 feet. He had sliced off into a mile-deep canyon.
During the match, Nash and Rogers overcame every sort of hazard, including tunnels, bridges, huge boulders, drainage ditches, cliffs, pavement, acres of tumbleweed. By the third day, after spending two wakeful nights in sleeping bags, Nash and Rogers ran into the worst hazard of all, the sand trap. This particular one was the Mojave Desert.
By dark of the third day the play had advanced to the outskirts of Palmdale. As the competitors said afterward, "We were walking on our stumps." With a caravan of 50 curious cars bringing up the rear and 2,500 spectators lining the course in front, Rogers and Nash played it safely down the main street of Palmdale into the center of town, to the 18th hole. Rogers was leading by a healthy six strokes. But Rogers shot for the bucket in the cafe doorway and missed. He shot again and missed. His lead was sheared. He shot again and again and finally on the fifth try, he holed his ball to win by two strokes. Later, with feet propped high and arms adangle, Rogers, forgetting the 128 balls they had lost during the match, said, "It'll be an annual affair." Nash added, "Maybe next year we'll try another course. L.A. to Las Vegas or something."
We received an impressive-looking bulletin this week from the Bureau of Industrial Service Inc.?a pretty impressive name itself?alerting us to the fact that "electronic testing is used for absolute uniformity" in the manufacture of the new Spalding Dot golf ball with the Dura-Thin cover. "Hence," the bulletin assured us, "all Dots hit alike," and then it swept up to its climax: "If anything goes to pieces with your golf next season, it will be your game?not the ball."
Well, that's a comforting chunk of knowledge. All these years we've never been quite confident enough about our game to pack up and join the winter circuit. Why were we mired in the 90s? Was it our swing? Or was it the equipment? For better or for worse, now we'll know.
Crazy mixed-up game
Last December, Canadian biologists came out of the woods with the news that an alarming number of the moose in Nova Scotia are losing their minds. Their senses dulled and nerves disordered, the Nova Scotian moose thrash aimlessly through the brush, tangling antlers in thickets and butting morosely into trees. Some seem to have lost all fear of man, which, of course, is about as crazy as a moose can get.
Until this happened, the moose had been making a grand comeback from near-extinction on the Nova Scotian peninsula. Isolated on their peninsula and protected from hunters for 20 years, they were multiplying prodigiously. Faced with a growing population of crazy moose, the biologists wasted no time shipping the brains of afflicted moose to Dalhousie University in Halifax and to the Boston Neurological Institute to learn that the moose brain?specifically the nerve sheathing at the base of it?was indeed deteriorating. Virus or bacteria may be causing this, but at the bottom of it, the biologists have believed all along, diet is at fault. Possibly Nova Scotia no longer affords the proper food balance to sustain a sound moose mind in the big moose body.