Q. Editing a golf book manuscript. Most golf books I see when referring to a golf hole write it as “the 5th hole” or “the 18th hole”—not “the fifth hole” or “the eighteenth hole.” I assume that is correct according to CMOS? Please advise.
A. CMOS normally spells out numbers up to one hundred, cardinals and ordinals alike (i.e., “five” and “fifth”; “eighteen” and “eighteenth”). But we recognize that in some contexts numerals are preferred (e.g., “page 5” and “5th ed.”). If that’s the case in golf, you have our permission to comply. But consider also the advantages of referring to, for example, a “par 4 fifth hole,” where a mix of numerals and words might be helpful. And note that the fabled nineteenth hole is often so spelled. Whatever you decide, let consistency and clarity be your guide.