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TOLD AT THE NINETEENTH HOLE
by
Newman Levy

Of all the golfers playing at the Fairgreen Country Club
Lysander James Adolphus Brown was quite the rankest dub
His stance was queer, his driving wild, his mashie shots were jokes
The best hole that he ever made took twenty-seven strokes
At times he'd swing for half an hour and never touch the ball
It really was a wonder that he tried to play at all.

Now one day when Lysander had been rather off his game
Into the locker room a handsome, well-dressed stranger came
His clubs were swung across his back, and as he entered there
A pungent sulphur odor seemed to permeate the air
He sat down by Lysander, and with just the slightest sneer
He said, 'I've watched you play a round. You certainly shoot queer.'

Lysander had a biting wit, as all his club mates knew
And so he answered like a flash, 'Well, what is that to you?'
The stranger smiled and said, 'I heard you say you'd sell your soul
If you could make a decent score, or even win a hole
I'm just the man you're looking for. I've got a set of clubs
Their owner can make Sarazen or Hagen look like dubs.
They're guaranteed, and good as new. I've used them only twice.'
Lysander James Adolphus Brown said hoarsely, 'What's your price?'

The stranger's face grew stern, and from his coat he drew a scroll
'Just sign this and the clubs are yours. The price I ask - Your soul.'
'There's no mistake,' Lysander cried, 'And they'll improve my game?'
'They're guaranteed,' the stranger said. Lysander signed his name.
A smell of brimstone filled the room, then came a thunder-clap
And there Lysander sat alone. The clubs lay on his lap.

‘Twas on the morning of the match, and brightly shone the sun
And as Lysander reached the tee the crowd said, 'Watch the fun.'
'You laugh too soon,' Lysander said, 'I'll show you duffers up
For by tonight my name will be engraven on the cup.'
He placed a shiny brand-new ball upon a mound of sand
And from his bag he calmly seized his driver in his hand.

A laugh rose from the gallery, but it changed into a shout
When, with the graceful, easy swing, he hit the ball a clout
It shot right down the fairway like a bullet from a gun
'It's in the cup.' the gallery cried. 'He's made the first in one!
Well, even duffers have their lucky shots,' they said perplexed
Lysander merely smiled and said; 'Just watch me on the next.'

The second hole was very long - six hundred yards or more
And thirty-five or forty was Lysander's average score
Once more he drove with all his might. The ball sped towards the goal
It landed square upon the green and trickled in the hole
Then Brown said to his caddy as his ball again he teed
'Just take that bag back to the club. My driver's all I need.'

The crowd no longer ridiculed Lysander's awkward stance
They followed him around the course like people in a trance
Until a mighty cheer went up upon the final green
Lysander nonchalantly said, 'That gives me an eighteen.'

Then once again the pungent smell of sulphur filled the air
And turning round, Lysander saw the stranger standing there
A sudden hush spread over the crowd, a stillness filled the place
A smile of rare contentment gleamed upon Lysander's face
And the gallery heard him mutter as he took the stranger's hand
'Well, anyway I guess I made a record that will stand.'
 
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