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On the second day of this year's National Open at Inverness, Ben Hogan, in the unfamiliar role of spectator, walked over the course watching his old friends in action. Numerous well-wishers came to express regret, which everyone in golf shared, over the ailment which the day before had caused his withdrawal from the tournament. Many also took the occasion to comment on Hogan's recent series in this magazine.
One of Ben's fans was a sprightly little lady whose white hair was almost the only sign that she was well on in her 60s.
" Mr. Hogan," she said, "I've been following your instructions and you tell me to hold my left arm so that the hollow at the elbow joint points to the sky." She placed a forefinger on the critical spot.
"But I can't hit good shots that way, and I don't feel comfortable. Am I doing it right, or," she gave him a twinkling smile, "have you got it wrong?"
"Well, let's see how you do it," Ben said. She grasped an imaginary club and took her stance. "Ah," said Hogan, "Your elbow is fine. The trouble's here." So saying, he turned her wrist inward about one-half an inch.
"Thank you very much," said the little lady with the white hair. "I see I'll have to study my lessons harder."
There's no way of knowing exactly how many golfers have been studying their lessons hard since the first installment of Hogan's Modern Fundamentals of Golf appeared in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED last March. What is known, however, is that a larger number than ever before have settled down to improving their game under the guidance of one instructor. Hogan's lessons possess the rare quality of keeping them at it. The flood of requests for extra copies of the series almost immediately exhausted SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S supply.
The decision to gather the five lessons into one book has occasioned an unprecedented event in publishing: its publisher, A. S. Barnes & Co., tells us that the first printing of 200,000 copies is the largest for any sports book ever.