The old round bullet was not remarkable for the length of its carry nor for its direction until we gave it a tail, by providing it with extra length and putting a hole in one end wherein we inserted a conical wedge of wood that on the explosion pressed the butt end of the bullet open until it engaged the grooving of the rifle, thus giving the bullet a spin, and providing it with what in effect was a small flange at its tail, for the bullet did not then take the grooving on its solid part if I am correctly informed.

That, however, and its modern development do not concern us. We know that the modern bullet flies better than the round bullet did and we know that it is longer and that it carries spin. We know that it holds to its course better. It may be wrong to say that it has a tail. It would seem at first that it is, but in effect it is almost as much entitled to a "head" and a "tail" as an arrow.

Now, we must come back to the golf ball. It has always seemed to me that the main reason. why the smooth golf ball will not fly straight is not because it has no tail, but because it cannot keep its tail on. That requires some explanation.

It will readily be admitted that the air in front of a swiftly driven golf ball must be somewhat compressed. It also seems reasonable to assume that there is, immediately behind the ball, something resembling a vacuum in that the air must be thinned to compensate for what is going on in front of the ball. We all know the old saying that "Nature abhors a vacuum." Probably this is correct. If so, we know that Nature is doing her best to fill up the space behind the ball, from the condensed air in front, until that which is behind the ball regains its normal density.

This operation means a continual flow around the ball of air that is denser than the ordinary atmosphere. I am speaking in this case of a ball without spin. In the ball that is marked by excrescences this condensed air is flowing in between them and perhaps over them, in the ball that is marked by dimples it is flowing in and out of them, in the ball that is marked by communicating indentations it is flowing through such indentations regularly and perhaps over-flowing.

In each of these cases there is a "stream" of condensed air flowing over the surface of the ball on its way back to regain normal density at, say an inch or maybe two, behind the ball. Some will say of course that the air is constant and that it is the ball that is moving. I think that my way of putting it makes my idea clearer and we may leave it to the scientists to improve on it.

It thus happens that our rough golf ball is provided with a tail of compressed air, or should I say that it flies in a cylinder of compressed air which holds it to its flight?

Now supposing that this explanation is correct what explanation have we to offer of the remarkably erratic flight of the smooth golf ball. I have had them made to my order with varying degrees of fineness in the marking and the manner in which the smooth balls ducked and soared and swerved was most remarkable. They were as erratic in flight as a butterfly. How is this to be accounted for?

The only reason I can advance is that on account of the smooth ball having nothing to hold it into the condensed air cushion in front of it, as in the case of the marked ball, when the pressure in front becomes excessive the ball "slips it" and starts off on the line of least resistance to look for another chance to repeat its performance. Some people would argue that this is unlikely, that the pressure must be equal all round, in front at least, and so forth. That might be technically correct were we dealing with a perfect sphere of homogeneous quality but we all know, to our cost, the rubber-cored golf ball is frequently not a perfect sphere, and that its center of gravity is very often not in the place where we had hoped it was-especially when we are about two feet six inches from the hole!

That is the best explanation I can give of a matter that has proved a mystery to England's leading physicist. If it stimulates some one to produce something more illuminating I shall be pleased. In literary work, as in golf, I like generally to do those things I know how to do, but he is a poor sportsman who will not risk a shot when it seems to him to be the only one to play, because he does not know it perfectly.

Shortly after the beginning of the great controversy about the relative merits of marking by indentation and by excrescence I had a number of golf balls with varying degrees of indentation made for me. My readers must understand that this is an expensive amusement for those who have to pay the bills. Each pattern cost for the mold alone over fifty dollars, not to mention time and other incidentals.

I had asserted that the modern bramble or pimple marking was unscientific and excessive. I thought that it was "up to me" to prove it. I had a golf ball with an extremely fine marking made. I had decided that I should start at the other extreme and find the mean. When this ball was painted the paint filled up the interstices. I shall never forget the trial of that ball. The erratic nature of its flight was the most remarkable thing of its kind that I had ever seen. George Duncan and I tried it out. It zigzagged and soared and ducked in a manner that was to me at that time truly incomprehensible. It set me seeking for the explanation which perhaps I have not got yet.

I knew of course that all I had to do was to increase the size of the indentations. I saved a lot of time by producing the "Vaile" ball. This was the first rubber-cored ball to be marked by indentations. It was the old two-pole cross-circle marking. The ball, as indeed I knew it must, both flew and ran perfectly. You will ask me of course why I am not running it commercially if it was a success. It is a perfectly fair question and the answer will amuse you, for it is not one that you, or I, would expect in England. Golfers said that the marking was too much like that of the old gut-tie!