the lie the way the ball lies after it has been played. If it is enmeshed in grass, partly embedded in wet ground, or lying on an awkward slope, that is a ‘bad lie’ for the next shot. To secretly move the ball to improve the lie is against the rules, but by no means unknown. Kipling may be suggesting that cheating may play as big a part as skill.
In “Scylla and Charybdis”, the recently discovered story about Stalky & Co., (KJ 309, bottom of p. 14) an ‘old gentleman’, who has lost his ball in Charybdis, takes a new ball from his pocket, puts it down and says he has found it, adding: “And a good lie too”.
the cleek An early iron-headed golf-club, with little lift in the face, roughly equivalent to a 1 or 2-iron today. Kipling is suggesting that in golf as in life, luck plays as big a part as skill.