GOLF is the coming game. Already it has more than kept pace with its younger rivals; and, from a purely local Scotch game, has extended its fascinations to every English-speaking community.

That the international popularity of golf, widespread as it already is, will go on increasing, seems an assured fact, as it is based on certain unique characteristics, in which the grand old game has no rivals.

In golfing, the mental, as well as the physical and muscular, qualities are called into full play. Like the surface of the ideal golf link, the game presents a series of perpetual changes. Difficulty after difficulty arises, which the player is called upon to surmount by cool judgment and prompt action. The same complication may never occur twice in identical circumstances; therefore the ingenuity, skill, and intelligence of the golfer have unlimited scope.

Meanwhile, although the violent, intermittent exercise, which renders baseball, cricket, and foot-ball impracticable to all save veritable athletes, can always be avoided in golf; the legs and arms are called into equable and invigorating action.

Unlike almost all other out-door games, golf can be played all the year round. This is even possible during the winter months, as an admirable game can be insured upon the snow by the use of red balls.

But its most generally appreciated peculiarity is, that it may include among its devotees five of Shakespeare's "Seven ages of man," from the immature schoolboy to the "lean and slippered pantaloon;" while the girls, too, are afforded an equal opportunity to develop practical enthusiasm, if not proficiency.

A Long Stroke.

A Long Stroke.

Almost the only indispensable requisite of a golf course is space. If a sufficient area is available, the impracticability of the surface for other games is rather a recommendation; all such irregularities and impediments are known as "bunkers." Without these, all would be literally flat, stale, and unprofitable to the chronic golfer, who estimates his enjoyment by the number of "hazards" such obstructions oblige him to play.

The full course may be any distance from three to five miles, though a course half the size may be played round twice. Eighteen holes, from four and a half to five inches in depth and diameter, are cut in the turf at intervals, not necessarily equidistant, and kept in shape with a metal lining.

The turf around each hole for about twenty yards must be perfectly level. These spaces are known as "putting greens," and are tended as so many gardens. In each hole is placed a long rod, surmounted by a flag, to indicate its locality; but should the course be unusually undulating, additional "guide flags" are placed to mark the route from hole to hole. These flags should be of a uniform color for half the circuit, while those indicating the return route should be a distinct contrast.

Adjoining each "putting green," a small space within painted lines is reserved as a "teeing ground." It is from this the ball is "teed" toward the next hole. To facilitate the game, a box of sand is generally placed within reach of the players; and, from this, a bit of sand may be taken to elevate the ball slightly, and insure a clean and effective hit.

The ball used is of solid rubber, about five inches in circumference. The game commences by each side playing a ball from the teeing ground, where the start and finish of the course converge in the direction of the first hole. A side may consist of one or more players, and two or more sides constitute a game. The hole is won by the side "holing its ball" in the fewest strokes. When the strokes are equal, the hole is divided.

Among the Bunkers.

Among the Bunkers.

As the hole is approached by the leading player, the flagstaff is temporarily removed until the hole is scored. The ball is then struck from the adjacent "teeing ground" in the direction of the second hole, and so on. In a match the partners strike alternately from the tees, and also during the play of the hole.

The players who are to strike against each other should be named at starting, and continue in the same order. The side winning a hole leads in starting for the next. This privilege is called the "honor."

One round of the links (a round amounts generally to eighteen holes in all) is a match, unless otherwise agreed upon. The match is won by the side which gets more holes ahead than remain to be played, or by the side winning the last hole when the score is even at the previous one.

When there is only one player on each side, the match is called a "singles." Two players on a side constitute a "foursome." These are the two most common and popular forms of golf.

What lends golf the variety and uncertainty which are its chief fascinations, is the diversified surface over which it is played. All obstructions, from scrub to stone walls, intercept the ball in its progress from hole to hole. As it cannot be handled, save in very exceptional cases, it must be "played out" of the "bunker" or "hazard" which stopped its flight. To make the smallest number of strokes to release it, clubs in great variety are used.

A moderate golf equipment is supposed to include the driver, long spoon, short spoon, brassy, driving iron, lofting iron, mashy, cleek, niblick, and putter. The first four and the last have wooden heads. The remainder are of iron. The driver is used for "teeing," and easy, long-distance strokes. The long spoon is used in high grass, and when elevation of the ball is desired. The "driving" and"lofting" irons serve as more powerful alternates. The short spoon is used for short drives, and when the player stands below the level of the ball. The brassy, niblick, and cleek are tried in very awkward "hazards." The "mashy" and "putter" come into play when on or near the "putting green."

Teeing with the Driver.

Teeing with the Driver.

On the Putting Green.

On the Putting Green.

BY HUGH S. HART.

Of the Xavier Athletic Association.