From Tee to Cup, Reganson Cartoon Books, 1954
By: Deb Long
From all appearances, the book looks like a children’s book as cartoon characters adorn the cover. However, a glance at the title “From Tee to the Cup: The Book with a Hole” it becomes clear that the book is intended for adults.
The book was an unexpected gift from a friend who frequents used book shops. Published in 1954, the slim volume has much to tell us about the game of golf today and how all evolution in the game has not been for our betterment, and illustrates once again, the timeliness of a game that can trace its roots to the 16th century.
Literally, a hole permeates the book from page one to 112, in the lower right hand corner, each illustration incorporating “a hole”, whether a golf hole or a distraught character’s gaping mouth. Although wonderfully illustrated with cartoon images throughout the book, showing all aspects of the game from tee to green to the 19th hole, the writing is entertaining and prescient. After reviewing the game’s historical origins (It was the Dutch and not the Scots!), Manning examines the “Tools of the Trade”. He identifies the latest development of the game which he described as the “motorized weapons carrier.” He recounted how Mary Queen of Scots popularized the role of caddies to carry her clubs then noted, in contemporary times, the advent of the golf ‘ jeep’ which he noted was banned by many country clubs. But he described the golf ‘jeeps’ growing popularity, even amongst the younger, healthier players. Even though not universally popular with many golfers, Manning predicted, nearly 60 years ago, that “the day will come when the walking golfer will be as rare as the horse.” Rare indeed!
Manning’s subsequent chapters cover everything from golf techniques, including “Correct Body English” to “Thought Control” and “Your Game-It’s Better than You Think”. We will forgive Reg Manning for ending his entertaining book with “A Word to the Wives”!
However, Manning wrote the most wonderfully descriptive sentence describing the unique sound known to all golfers, that of a ball dropping into the cup. Anyone who has holed a putt of any length knows the deliciousness of the sound as he describes:
“… It is a combining in one vibrant chord, all of the world’s most inspiring symphonies. It is a hymn–an aria-taps in the night-a mother’s lullaby-a Sousa march-a girl’s soft laughter-pulsing jungle drums-sighing flutes-tolling bells-Scottish bagpipes-trumpets-cymbals-and an angel’s song, all rolled into one. It’s the “lost chord” rediscovered. No sweeter sound is known to ear of mortal.”
Maybe a little hyperbole but hopefully, you have heard the sound, and if you have not heard the ‘vibrant chord’ of late, listen carefully the next time your ball disappears and finally comes to rest at the bottom of the cup.PS: Reg Manning was a Pulitzer award winning editorial cartoonist for the Arizona Republic, a long time ago.