7 SEPTEMBER 1907, Page 27

The Spirit of the Links. By Henry Leach. (Methuen and

Co. 6s.)—There can be little doubt that " hope " is that which gives its most powerful charm to golf. We know, when we regard the matter in the dry light of reason, that the law of averages must prevail, that we shall do the round in much about the usual number of strokes ; still, we cherish the secret hope that for once the law will be suspended. There is always an ideal which lies out of the reach of even the champions of the game. If any one will take the recorded scores of a match between the giants, he will see that every time there is a possible best, which is several strokes less than that which any one player has accomplished. Mr. Leach therefore does well to begin his book with a chapter which he entitles "Spring," and in which he discourses on this and other kindred and consequent topics. His second chapter is given to "Men and Things." Here we are told about great golfers of the past, Allan Robertson, for instance, who did the St. Andrews round in seventy-nine in the year 1858— the days of the feather ball, we must remember—and young Tom Morris. Happily, "Old Tom Morris" still belongs to the present. Further an there is a most interesting and instructive chapter in which the scientific investigations of Professor Tait are expounded in popular language. We cannot attempt to set these forth in the space at our disposal. One matter, however, admits of being briefly stated. A golf ball does not always have its centre of gravity and its actual centre identical,—in popular speech, it is lopsided. Hence come some of the vagaries which it practises. The volume has interspersed among its chapters not a few good stories. Here is a hard case. There is a well-known custom which imposes a fine on a player who "holes out" in one,—it is, presumably, an offering to placate Fortune, on the principle which Polycrates fruitlessly followed, imposed by a benevolent power on individuals who might neglect it to their own harm. Mr. Balfour accomplished a certain hole in two ; but as it was a hole at which he was allowed a stroke, the fine was imposed. There is a hole in Ashdown Forest which some enthusiast endowed with £5, and the interest accumulates till some one accomplishes the feat of the founder, who did it in one. Possibly the interest may roll up till it includes all the wealth of the world. This is a most delightful book.