It's too early to have any idea about how many golfers' games are going to be brought down into the 70s this year by Ben Hogan's Modern Fundamentals of Golf. But from the day the first lesson appeared, it wasn't too early to be sure that an awful lot of golfers are going to put their game into Hogan's overlapping grip. The reports started coming in immediately, by letter, by phone and by word of mouth, in what is certainly the largest response SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has ever had to any published article.
Bill Beeney wrote us from Rochester, N.Y., "At our house we already have 1) a nick in the ceiling, 2) a dent in the coffee table, 3) a small divot in the front hall. Perhaps there's no excuse, because the first lesson said nothing about swinging. But I hope the weather changes fast or I hate to think what will happen in snowbound Rochester homes under the urge to practice what Hogan preaches."
At the Greenwich Country Club in Connecticut, Ladies' Days will officially start on May 8. Unofficially, however, they started on Tuesday, March 12, according to testimony from two Greenwich ladies who headed for the course as soon as each had read Hogan on "The Grip." "We were not alone. The pro shop was closed, and it was anything but spring. But Ladies' Day it was, and Hogan was the reason."
One urgent request for an extra copy came from a frustrated Ivy League alumnus, who said without comment, "The pages in the Yale Club copy are torn out." This apparently won't happen in the New York offices of Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, Inc., which reports that people are locking their SPORTS ILLUSTRATEDS in their desks.
From Palm Beach, Fla. to Palm Springs, Calif. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED sold out hours after the March 11 issue hit the stands. It was easy to see where a lot of them had gone. For instance, on the big practice tee at the Thunderbird course at Palm Springs, which accommodates 25 to 30 golfers at a time, propped-up copies of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED were almost as integral a part of the setting as the players themselves.
One Palm Springs golfer, however, was doing things differently. Said Advertising Agency Executive Jere Bayard, "It's hard to wait, but I've decided not to touch a club until I've read all five lessons." Bayard's moment will come next week, when the series ends—the beginning, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED hopes, of many pleasant moments, not only for Bayard but for millions of other golfers.