"The United States Golf Association disapproves of gambling in connection with golf tournaments because of the harm it can do the best interests of the game. Golf is a game to be played primarily for its own sake, especially amateur golf. When it is played for gambling motives, evils can arise to injure both the game and the individual players.
"Therefore, the USGA urges its member clubs, all golf associations and all other sponsors of golf competitions to prohibit gambling in connection with tournaments....
"The association will deny amateur status or refuse entry for USGA championships to players whose activities in connection with golf gambling are considered by the association to be contrary to the best interests of golf...."
These few paragraphs, coming as an abrupt and welcome epilogue to last year's scandal at Deepdale (SI, Nov. 14), have already cast a gloom over some of the gaudier spas of the winter season, particularly along the Florida gold coast. The word is around that without those fabulous Calcutta pools that have recently jazzed up a number of the tournaments in this playground, many of caf� society's hustling golfers don't plan to show up. The reaction elsewhere is: good riddance.
THE COST OF DREAMS
Ever since a large group of wise and wealthy ockey Club members incorporated the Greater New York Association last year, the state's increasing number of disgruntled racing fans have been consoling themselves with pleasant dreams of the new super track which was promised them by the wise and wealthy. Last week the GNYA awoke the dreamers with a surprising although not entirely unexpected announcement: the group had come to the realization that the $30 million available to it (from an original guaranteed loan of $47 million) was insufficient to build anything along super-duper lines. The best that could be hoped for, it appeared, was a lot of so-called major re-modeling at either Belmont Park or Aqueduct.
When would it happen? Oh, maybe in time for fall racing in 1958. In the meantime the look of newness would be supplied through such common devices as those which will be obvious to visitors at Saratoga next summer: a new coat of paint here and there, a new 54-stall barn which cost $60,000 and some $40,000 worth of seats to replace some old benches.
In its preliminary surveys the GNYA was discovering something elementary which every U.S. home builder well knows: the cost of building is still going up. Back in 1934 the initial capital investment to build Santa Anita totaled just $1,000,000. Four years later Hollywood Park cost $2,500,000. Building costs, so the wise men have been informed, have risen 25% just since 1950 and over 8% in the last 18 months. One good example is the new Woodbine Park near Toronto. Planned for approximately 8,000 seats, it figured to cost about $8 million. Now nearing completion, final costs will come close to $12 million. In other words, building a modern race track can, as a general rule of thumb, be estimated to cost about $1,500 per seat.
Where does all this leave New Yorkers and their dreams? It leaves them on the hook until early summer when the GNYA will receive its first official engineering and construction survey with suggestions as to what can be done for $30 million.