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There is the trailer camp. With more and more young men taking to the tour accompanied by their wives and their under-school-age children, the trailer is definitely the tour vehicle of the future. You not only have the appurtenances of home life along with you but at $5 a week for parking privileges at a trailer court, and your own kitchen, you can hold expenses down. The Littlers have a trailer, of course, and so do the Arnold Palmers, the Felice Torzas, the Bob Grants, the Pat Pattons. The Dick Mayers' is the current showplace, a 30-foot, 8,000-pound job which Dick and Doris designed themselves. The Bud Holschers have a new and larger trailer on order. Social note from Phoenix: Shirley Littler threw a shower for Bonnie Holscher and Nita Wininger who are expecting.
There is the practice fairway, densely populated from dawn to dark. Freddy Wampler probably chews up as much turf as anyone, though Frank Stranahan and Jerry Barber are not far behind. Soowick...thweck...soowick...soowick...thwock...on it goes hour after hour, always in the background like a Greek chorus.
PARTIES AND BULL SESSIONS
There is the portly and ubiquitous Ray O'Brien who directs the tour for the PGA. "O.B.," who first traveled the circuit as a player back in 1931 and has been traveling it since 1936 as an official, has the responsibility—to enumerate just a few of his jobs—for "liaisoning" with the local sponsor, handling the registration of entries, seeing that adequate locker space and fair prices for the meals at the club are provided, setting up the qualifying rounds, inspecting the course and drawing up rules to govern special local conditions, making out the pairings and the starting times, and arranging for golf clinics, press and radio releases, the presentation ceremonies, the breakdown of prize money, the cashing of checks, and reservations for rooms six tournaments ahead. He is fortunate (and so is the tour) in having as his field secretary his wife Jo, an orderly whirlwind. It is a rare occasion when "O.B." can get through a meal without being summoned from the table by some detail that needs instant attention—Tony Holguin's drive on the first has ended up in a gopher hole and an official is needed to rule whether or not Tony is entitled to a free lift, or a state trooper is at the first tee with a summons for speeding for John Barnum and wants to yank John off the course in the middle of his round.
There are the bull sessions at all hours. Such as admitting that golf is sort of a negative game—what did I do wrong?—does it do you any good to read The Power of Positive Thinking? Or, what are the best stops on the tour? In this last connection, the consensus would seem to be Palm Springs, the Crosby (when the weather is right), Houston (where the price is right—$30,000), and naturally the Masters. "Now, that Palm Springs deal is my favorite," Al Besselink, probably the most ebullient of the nomads, confided one night as he stroked his alpaca sweater. "What it is is a swell party. A real golfing atmosphere during the day and plenty of life in the evening. This year they had a big tent set up in the patio of the clubhouse and Les Brown's band playing there. That Les isn't too tough, you know."
There are the many unknown youngsters who want more than anything else to make a career in golf and who find breaking through a terribly rugged business. At each tournament there are .50 to 70 "open places" set aside for golfers who are not on the exempt list, the roster of players who need not qualify for each tournament because of their past records. To be sure, if a non-exempt golfer finishes among the low 60s in a tournament, he is automatically qualified for a place in the next tournament down the line, but before he has a chance to make that first 60, he must first get into the tournament by nailing down one of those "open places" in the qualifying round for the nonexempt on the Tuesday preceding the tournament proper. Miss out, and you drive on, almost immediately, to the next stop and begin practicing there days before the big boys arrive.
It is a grueling, anxious life, the winter tour, but for all it subjects you to, it gives you, curiously, at least as much in pleasure. Veterans like Jimmy Demaret and Dutch Harrison, long established, find it hard to stay away. Like the stage, the tour gets in the old troupers' blood and they miss its particular brand of companionship that is never available in a set "civilian life." Let them make their pile, settle down, but when they find themselves drifting back to the tour, even for just a brace of tournaments, they feel they've never been away. They are at once at home in that microcosm of golf and golfers, an eternally youthful world and a world of its own wherever it happens to be camping that week.