The New York Times
June 1, 2005
Herbert Warren Wind, Golf Writer, Dies at 88
By FRANK LITSKY
Herbert Warren Wind, whose richly detailed prose graced the pages of The New Yorker and Sports
Illustrated for 43 years and established him as the dean of American golf writers, died Monday in an
assisted-living facility in Bedford, Mass. He was 88.
The cause was pneumonia, said his nephew, Bill Scheft, a columnist for Sports Illustrated.
Mr. Wind was a short, slender, serious man who wore a tweed jacket, shirt, tie and cap on the golf
course, even in the hottest weather. A graduate of Yale with a master’s degree from Cambridge, he
wrote with an elegant but straightforward style that showed respect for his subject, whether it was
golf, his first love, or other sports like tennis and baseball.
“Every time you read him, you get a histo! ry lesson, a golf lesson and a life lesson,” the
professional golfer Ben Crenshaw said.
Mr. Wind’s narrative powers were displayed in a profile of Arnold Palmer for The Sporting Scene in
The New Yorker of June 9, 1962.
“Let us say he is a stroke behind, with the holes running out, as he mounts the tee to play a long
par 4,” Mr. Wind wrote. “The fairway is lined by some 10,000 straining spectators – Arnold’s Army,
as the sportswriters have chosen to call them – and a shrill cry goes up as he cuts loose a long
drive, practically lifting himself off his feet in his effort to release every last ounce of power
at the moment of impact. He moves down the fairway toward the ball in long, eager strides, a
cigarette in his hand, his eyes on the distant green as he considers every aspect of his coming
approach shot. They are eyes with warmth and humor in them as well as determination, for this is a
mild and pleasant man. Palmer’s chief attraction,! for all that, is his dashing style of play. He is
always attacking the course, being temperamentally incapable of paying it safe instead of shooting
directly at the flag.”
Mr. Wind was a staff writer for The New Yorker from 1947 to 1954. He left to write for the new
magazine Sports Illustrated. In 1962, he returned to The New Yorker and stayed there until he
His first writing in The New Yorker was a poem in 1941 and his last was a review of the 1989 United
States Open tennis championship. Of the 141 articles he wrote for the magazine, 132 were for the
section called The Sporting Scene. Although those reports appeared well after a competition ended,
they were eagerly awaited by the participants, fans and colleagues in the news media.
Mr. Wind was born Aug. 11, 1916, in Brockton, Mass., and was raised there. He started playing golf
as a youngster, and his first hero was Bobby Jones, who recorded golf’s first Grand Slam as an
am! ateur in 1930.
In 2001, Mr. Wind told The Boston Globe that his passion for golf stemmed from a radio program on
Friday evening in his youth.
“Bob Jones used to do this radio show with Grantland Rice,” Mr. Wind recalled. “It was marvelous, so
informative. They taught us about the game. Educators, they were.”
Writing in Sports Illustrated on Palmer’s victory in the 1958 Masters, Mr. Wind coined the name that
still stands for the treacherous stretch of the Augusta National course on the 11th, 12th and 13th
holes. He recalled a jazz record he had bought in college of a spiritual called “Shoutin’ in the
Amen Corner” and named that part of the course Amen Corner.
He wrote or edited more than a dozen golf books.
In an article for Golf Digest in 1970, he wrote that golf was “the ‘official’ game of our era, the
common ground, the shared enthusiasm, the Cloth of Gold that drew together the heroes from such
separate worlds as sports, gov! ernment and entertainment.”
In 1992, the Professional Golfers Association presented Mr. Wind with its lifetime achievement
award. In 1995, the United States Golf Association gave him its annual Bob Jones Award for
distinguished sportsmanship in golf. Previous winners included Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan,
Byron Nelson and Babe Zaharias, but never a writer. Mr. Wind’s reaction was typical: “I’m
flabbergasted and feel undeserving.”
Mr. Wind never married. He is survived by a brother, Jack, of Brockton, Mass.; and three sisters:
Martha Finger of Providence, R.I.; Gertrude Scheft of Weston, Mass.; and Rose Stone of Plymouth,
The author John Updike was Mr. Wind’s colleague at The New Yorker.
“He really gave you a heaping measure of his love of the game,” Mr. Updike said. “He was so knowing,
so perceptive. He could play, too. About a decade ago, I took him to the Myopia course in Hamilton,
Mass. He walked with me when I played! a few holes, but I couldn’t get him to hit the ball. I suspect
he didn’t think he could do it as well as he once did.”
Mr. Wind’s love affair with golf and the Masters never waned. At age 84, more than 10 years removed
from his last trip to the Masters, he asked another golf writer, “Tell me, is Augusta still