How To Do Everything In Golf\u000AOur complete guide to making the game less confusing and more fun\u000A\u000ARelated: Tom Watson: Easy Does It\u000AHow to mark your ball\u000A\u000AWhen you are on the green, you should mark your golf ball with a small coin or ball marker. Place the mark just behind your ball before picking up the ball. When it is your turn to putt, place the ball on the green in its original location before picking up the mark. If your mark is possibly in the way of a playing partner\u0027s putting line, ask if they want you to move it. If so, pick a tree or another standstill object to line your ball mark up with and move it a putter head or two to the right or left. Remember to return your ball to its original spot —not where you moved your mark — before putting.\u000AHow to rake a bunker\u000A\u000AAfter hitting a shot from a bunker, you are obligated to leave the sandy hazard in good shape. That means raking the area you hit, where you stood, where you walked, and even cleaning up the mess made by someone else. Rake the sand toward you as you walk backward to exit the bunker. When you are done, leave the rake just outside of the bunker, unless the rake has a message on it that says to leave it inside.\u000AHow to tend the flagstick\u000A\u000AWhen everyone in your group is on the green, it\u0027s the person whose ball is closest to the hole\u0027s responsibility to handle the flagstick. Ask the golfer whose ball is farthest away whether or not they want the flag tended. If they decline, pull the flag and lay it down on the green somewhere out of the way. If they want you to tend, stand to the side of the hole and hold the flagstick with your hand over the flag to prevent it from flapping. Dislodge it from the bottom of the cup, but hold it so that it still rests in the hole as your playing partner putts. Pull the flagstick completely out if the ball is heading toward it so that your playing partner doesn\u0027t receive a two-stroke penalty for hitting it with his ball.\u000AHow to read a green\u000A\u000AThe key to reading putts is to establish a routine. Begin as you approach the green, observing the overall slopes and undulations. Then without distracting your playing companions, read your putt while others putt out. This helps speed play. As you study your putt, look first from behind the ball and then from the low side of the putt (the side the ball will break toward). Try to get a sense of how fast the green is. Generally, the faster the green the more the putt will break. The slight exception to this rule is on Bermuda grass, which is very grainy, meaning that the direction the grass grows affects the putt. One final thought about reading greens: The harder you hit a putt, the less the break becomes a factor.\u000AHow to repair a ball mark\u000A\u000AWhen a ball lands on a green it leaves an indentation. These are easy to repair, and will do no damage to the green if fixed right away. Stick a divot repair tool or a tee into the turf around the outside of the mark. Gently lift the compacted soil to loosen and raise it and move around the entire ball mark in a circle. Once you\u0027ve done this, take your putter and softly tap down the turf so it is level with the rest of the green. The rules of golf allow you to repair ball marks that are on your line. You are not allowed to repair spike marks, but it is a good idea to repair any pitch marks or spike marks you see before leaving the green—as long as you don\u0027t hold up play.\u000AHow to take relief\u000A\u000AThe Rules of Golf allow a player to take relief without penalty from cart paths, ground under repair and casual water. Anytime the lie of a player\u0027s ball, his stance, or the area of his intended swing are affected by one of these situations, the player is entitled to lift and clean his ball, then drop it within one club-length of the spot where the player would have complete relief. To summarize the actual routine for taking relief: (1) take your stance, avoiding the interference, no nearer the hole; (2) determine where your clubhead would lie, given this stance, and if you like, mark this point with a tee; (3) drop at this point or within one club-length of it, no nearer the hole.\u000A\u000A — Tom Meeks , former USGA senior director of rules and competition\u000AHow to play \u0022ready golf\u0022\u000A\u000AIt\u0027s quite a simple concept: golfers should play in the order they are ready, not necessarily in the order deemed by the rules of golf. For casual rounds, don\u0027t worry about who is away from the hole or who has the honor on the next tee. If you are ready, and you aren\u0027t in anyone\u0027s way, alert your group you are playing your next shot and hit it. Of course, this less formal style should be established with your playing partners before or early in your round. Provided everyone keeps an eye on what everyone else in the group is doing, it\u0027s the kind of request that isn\u0027t likely to be denied.\u000AHow to let people play through\u000A\u000AIf you find that you are holding up play, or that there is a hole or more open ahead of you, the polite thing to do is let the group immediately behind you play through -- or skip ahead -- of your group. The best place to do this is a par 3. After marking your ball, motion to the group on the tee to hit their tee shots. While the group approaches the green, go ahead and putt out, or, if you like, simply wait for them to putt out, before finishing that hole. There is no law against letting the group through on any other hole, however, even after you\u0027ve begun playing it. This takes very little time, helps speed up play, and keeps everyone happy.\u000AHow to be a good guest\u000A\u000AThe biggest thing to remember is that your behavior reflects not only on you but on your host. Arrive with plenty of time to warm up, and agree ahead of time on where to meet your partner. Without making a federal case out of it, offer to pay for snacks at the halfway house and for every other round in the clubhouse following the match. It\u0027s also a nice gesture to volunteer to pay the caddie fees, and to tip the locker-room attendant. On the course, be generous with your compliments concerning both good shots and the course itself, and never lose your temper. Common sense is your best guide. Act the way you\u0027d like a guest to act at your course—and make a point of inviting your host to play as your guest within the year.\u000AHow to not be an annoying partner\u000A\u000AThe first step is to brim with positivity, always. Praise your pal\u0027s good shots and ignore or console the bad. Rebukes such as \u0022what\u0027s got into you today?\u0022 never work. On the playing end, don\u0027t give lessons, read his putts, advise on club selection or blurt which way the wind is blowing, unless he asks. Don\u0027t point out obvious hazards. Don\u0027t whine about your own bad shots. Be careful about praising his shot while in mid-air; if it takes a bad bounce into a bunker, he\u0027ll rightfully give you the evil eye. On the interpersonal end, don\u0027t complain about the course. Don\u0027t put your sandwich on his cart seat. Always drive to the shortest ball first. Don\u0027t stomp on the brake or accelerate suddenly. That\u0027s a lot of don\u0027ts, but they seem to matter more than the do\u0027s.\u000A\u000A • The Most Annoying Golf Partners\u000AHow to check your phone while playing\u000A\u000AWe know, we know — you\u0027re VERY important. But unless you\u0027re authorizing military force somewhere, we\u0027d like to think you can afford to have your phone out of reach for more than two minutes at a time. It\u0027s not that we\u0027re opposed to phones on the golf course, especially if they\u0027re enabling you to sneak away from the office. But common courtesy still applies. If you need to return an email, do so in between holes where you\u0027re not holding up play. If a phone call is essential, bow out to a place where you can\u0027t be heard by other golfers. And if a phone call is NOT essential, save it for later. Golf should be a time to connect with your playing partners, with the outdoors, and with yourself. The rest of the world can surely manage without you for a few more hours.\u000AHow to play with your spouse\u000A\u000ALet\u0027s not make this harder than it is. Adopt the seven habits of Cordial Spousal Golf. 1) Expect nothing. 2) Stop teaching! And don\u0027t ask for advice. 3) Be complimentary. \u0022That\u0027s a peach, hon,\u0022 is your fallback. 4) If it\u0027s a competition, decide if you and your spouse can agree on an equal level of intensity. 5) Stop when he or she wants to stop. Four holes? Nine holes? Fine. Right before that dumb little hole over the ugly pond? Absolutely. 6) If you play with another couple, genders ride together. That way there\u0027s always a guy around to remind the other guy not to drive past the red tees. 7) Congratulate yourself for doing a good thing. Sharing the game you (usually) love with the one you (usually) love is almost always good for the game, and may be good for your game.\u000AHow to play with a beginner\u000A\u000ALow-handicappers sometimes look down on playing with beginners, but if you stay patient and approach it with the right attitude, you can get some genuine satisfaction from helping somebody learn more about the game. You\u0027ll have to accept that the round will probably take a little longer than usual and that you\u0027ll likely be peppered with questions about basic etiquette, rules, and swing tips, so come prepared. How not to step in your playing partners\u0027 putting lines, for example, or how to take a proper drop—stuff you haven\u0027t revisited in years—but if that\u0027s the case chances are you\u0027re in need of a refresher anyway.\u000AHow to find the right pro for you\u000A\u000AWe\u0027re suspicious of teaching pros who talk a lot. The best teachers ask—or determine quickly—how you learn. Do you learn by watching someone demonstrate? By \u0022feeling\u0022 the motion? By analyzing and understanding it? Practiced teachers know that they may have to explain things to an accountant but simply let a painter watch them do it. A third student may \u0022get it\u0022 with an image like Sam Snead\u0027s grip advice: Grip the club as you might a little bird. You\u0027re the patient; know thyself--and then find a person who speaks your language. Sparingly. Golf Digest\u0027s list of Top Teachers is a great place to start. (PGA and LPGA Teachers of the Year, too.) These are the teachers that other teachers would send their friends to. Can\u0027t beat that.\u000AHow to get the most out of a lesson\u000A\u000AThe first few minutes of any lesson should be a discussion between student and teacher on your objectives, how realistic they are, and what is the best way to achieve them based on your talent and commitment to practice. As a student, be prepared to listen and to change. Take clear, simple notes. Write down the main points of the session and make sure they accurately reflect the instructor\u0027s message. Don\u0027t leave the tee without clarifying confusing points. Follow the prescription and be realistic in your expectations. You should leave with a greater understanding of your swing and a definitive practice plan to improve it. However, changing motor skills often takes time and patience—elements that you must supply to complement your instructor\u0027s suggestions.\u000AHow to maximize your range time\u000A\u000AIt doesn\u0027t matter if you have two hours to spend on the range. If you\u0027re not thinking through what you\u0027re doing, it\u0027s time wasted. Approach your practice sessions with a specific purpose: \u0022I want to practice this move,\u0022 or, \u0022I want to get comfortable shaping the ball.\u0022 Once you do that, start with your wedges and work your way through your bag. You won\u0027t have time for all your clubs, so just hit your odd numbered irons, and the next time you\u0027re on the range, hit your evens. And don\u0027t just beat balls into nowhere, hit lots of different shots: high, low, left, right, soft, hard. And, of course, always finish ripping a few drivers.\u000AHow to practice vs. warm up\u000A\u000ADon\u0027t make the mistake of thinking they\u0027re the same thing. Practice sessions are about improvement, so do the drills your instructor gave you, focus on your positions and maybe even take some swing video. It\u0027s not necessarily about hitting it pure today, it\u0027s about preparing to hit it pure the next time you go and play. Warm-up sessions, on the other hand, are about cashing-in all the work you\u0027ve done in practice, so keep it simple and focus on getting loose and comfortable. Hit lots of wedges and short irons so you can get used to making solid contact. After that, envision the holes you\u0027re about to play, and work on the shots you think you\u0027ll need to hit.\u000AHow to improve in your backyard\u000A\u000AThe secret to golf may be \u0022in the dirt,\u0022 but it\u0027s findable at home or in the office, too. You don\u0027t need to be on the range to grip a club or take a stance, so be methodical and get set up like you\u0027re about to hit a shot, then step away and start again. Repeating that process will help improve your fundamentals, but it\u0027s not all about the long game. If you have a backyard at your disposal, put a bucket or a large pot on the ground and walk about four paces away, and simply try to chip as many balls into it as possible. It feeds the golf bug, and you\u0027ll find the next time you get on the course, you\u0027ll be landing more chips in your intended spots.\u000AHow to buy the right clubs for you\u000A\u000AIt may be the question I get most: What are the right clubs for me? I usually respond if you don\u0027t go to a professional clubfitter (check out our list of the country\u0027s best clubfitters, you\u0027re wasting your money and time. Sadly, most people don\u0027t get fit, so what should you do? Instead of simply choosing the best color, there are some simple general rules to consider when buying clubs, so here goes: Most golfers err by having shafts that are too long or too stiff. A lack of wedges (you need a minimum of three, including pitching wedge, but four is likely better because a fair portion of your shots are insider 100 yards). Your 3-wood is probably too low in loft and, in fact, you probably should have a 4-wood instead as it is easier to get airborne. And if you are having trouble getting the ball in the air with your irons, look at ones with big honkin\u0027 soles. \u000A\u000A(For our complete rating of the best clubs on the market, go to our Hot List section). \u000A\u000AFor those who do understand the concept of clubfitting, realize fitting doesn\u0027t end with the driver. Irons, wedges, putters and even your golf ball need to be fit to get the most out of your game. Now stop asking me.\u000A\u000A —E. Michael Johnson, Senior Equipment Editor, Golf World\u000AHow to pack your golf bag\u000A\u000AThey key to packing your golf bag is simple: keep it as light as you can, without skimping on the essentials. Clubs, balls, tees, and a towel are obvious musts, so once you have those, just take some time to plan for the other stuff you might need. Don\u0027t assume the course will have food, so pack fruit and water. Always keep your wet weather gear in your bag, and you never want to be that person marking their ball with a tee, so bring lots of ball markers, pencils and divot repair tools. After that, it\u0027s really down to your own needs. You could bring some sports tape to if you have blisters, or if you\u0027re struggling with some small injuries (or recovering from a tough night out), pack some aspirin.\u000AHow to keep your clubs in good shape\u000A\u000AClubs are expensive. We get that. But there are ways to inexpensively maintain your current set so that it feels like you\u0027ve splurged. Grips usually cost $6 to $10, for example, but you can make old clubs feel fresh without a huge investment. If you\u0027re not quite ready to replace them, clean them. Grab a towel, squirt some water and dishwashing soap on to it and rub down each grip. Once they dry, your grips will feel tackier and better than they did five minutes prior. (But seriously, if you haven\u0027t replaced your grips in more than two seasons, it\u0027s time to do so.) Just as the grip is your only connection to any given club, the clubface is the only part that connects with the ball. So take a tee and remove the dirt that\u0027s trapped within each groove. Instant (and free) performance.\u000AHow to ship your clubs\u000A\u000ATraveling with golf clubs isn\u0027t fun. Luckily, companies like Ship Sticks have partnered with major mail carriers to offer an affordable alternative. Ship Sticks allows golfers the option of having their golf bag get picked up at the home, their office, their nearest UPS or FedEx store, or at one of more than 1,500 golf courses. Here\u0027s the process: Schedule your shipment at ShipSticks.com\u000A\u000A; print your shipping label; prepare your golf bag by either packing it in a travel bag or in a box; and attach the shipping label to the bag. The courier then picks up the bag and ships it. If you prepare ahead of time, shipping your clubs could cost you less than bringing them with you— fees range from $39 (ground delivery, same coast) to $159 (next-day delivery, cross-coast). It\u0027s a no-brainer.\u000AHow to handle first-tee jitters\u000A\u000AThe worst cases of first-tee jitters are no joke, but there are all kinds of useful tricks to handle them. Tossing a ball in the air and catching it, yawning on purpose, stretching, taking deep breaths and making super-slow practice swings are proven devices that can help. But the real secret is tricking yourself into believing you don\u0027t care very much. Try to pretend that this terrifying scenario—be it playing in a tournament, with your boss or for a lot of money—is rather a bore. In your heart you know it matters, but you\u0027re playing the role of someone who thinks it doesn\u0027t. You\u0027ll know the technique is working when you slice that first tee ball into the rough and blame it on not concentrating enough.\u000AHow to holler \u0022Fore!\u0022\u000A\u000AScreaming a warning when your ball is headed for another human isn\u0027t a courtesy, it\u0027s a grave responsibility. It should be a combination of a scream and sharp bark, so that everybody within 250 yards snaps their heads in your direction. The idea is to make the sound travel faster than it really can, since your sound waves are competing with the incredible velocity of the golf ball itself. Cupping your hands will be help. So will more than one voice; everyone in the foursome should yell. It\u0027s surprising that people have the presence of mind to think of \u0022Fore!\u0022 before actually yelling it. In every other walk of life, we holler, \u0022Look out!\u0022 Come to think of it, \u0022Look out!\u0022 isn\u0027t such a bad idea. The point is to make everyone in eyesight to duck and cover.\u000AHow to survive a nightmare round\u000A\u000AThere are days when it quickly becomes apparent that messages from your brain aren\u0027t reaching your golf clubs. Add to that a spate of unprecedented bad luck, and what you have is a nightmare round. You\u0027ll get through this. The key is to treat this dark day with humor, humility and some amount of acceptance. Confront it. Learn from it. Make a few mental notes on how your swing feels and if possible, where your misses are going. Slow down your swing and see if you can find a \u0022safety shot\u0022 that makes your foozles at least playable. Shift your attention to things you don\u0027t normally think about—the great camaraderie in your foursome, perhaps, or maybe the beauty of the golf course. Whatever you do, don\u0027t get angry. And never double the bet on the back nine.\u000AHow to not lose a ball\u000A\u000AHitting it straight always helps, but when you hit one astray, the key is to pay attention. Yes, the normal reaction is drop your head in shame, but making yourself watch your bad shot to its conclusion is the only way to know where it actually ends up. Follow the ball\u0027s flight into trouble and pick out a mark (perhaps a tree or a bush) to use as a reference point. Remember the angle the ball took when crossing into trouble and then proceed to that spot. Watching your bad shots certainly isn\u0027t as fun as striking a pose after striping one down the middle, but when it comes for tracking them down, it will help save you time, money, and strokes.\u000AHow to play in foul weather\u000A\u000AYou\u0027ve probably heard the basics before—dress in layers, get a good umbrella, invest in a quality rain suit, etc. But performance is even more important. Let\u0027s face it, if you play well, the bad weather won\u0027t bother you. A few tricks: Keep one towel dry. If you can\u0027t grip the club, all hope is lost. If rain gloves aren\u0027t your thing, you\u0027ll need a good towel to dry your grips. Keep the towel under the spokes of your umbrella. Keep extra gloves—stored in a zip-lock plastic bag—in your bag. And handle stuff between shots with your non-gloved hand. Get a waterproof bucket hat. A dry head means something on the performance end. A baseball-style cap, with water dripping off the bill, is an annoyance you don\u0027t need.\u000AHow to stretch\u000A\u000ABefore hitting, concentrate on loosening up two injury-prone areas: Your shoulder joints and lower back. Holding two clubs in your left hand with your arm extended, emulate a slow-turning windmill. Do 10 slow revolutions in each direction. Switch arms. Repeat. Now, the lower back. Holding the club horizontally with both hands above your head, rotate your torso in broad circles for a full minute. Then do what Jack Nicklaus does: Hold a club behind your back, locking it in the crooks of your arms, and twist back and forth—gently, until you feel loose. The whole process takes about five minutes. You\u0027re now ready to make your first swings of the day.\u000AHow to get exercise when driving a golf cart\u000A\u000ABelieve it or not, you get a fair amount exercise taking a cart, even if you don\u0027t make any extra effort to add steps. With a bit of awareness you can transform 18-with-a-cart into a lot more exercise: Walk every other hole and suggest your cart mate do the same. Off the tee, drive to his ball and then grab a couple of clubs and walk to yours. As you approach the green, let him take the cart, as you grab your wedges and putter and walk the rest of the way. When searching for balls, immediately get out of the cart and look on foot—it\u0027s more efficient anyway. Wear a fitness band to keep track of your steps and establish a \u0022par\u0022 you want to reach each time you play. Or, take a caddie and let him drive the cart. Seriously.\u000AHow to eat and drink during a round\u000A\u000AIf you really want to play better, consider what you\u0027re putting in your tank. Drink roughly 16 ounces of water before you play, and repeat at least one more time during the round, though twice is better. And that means water. Not sports drinks, fruit juice, soda or beer. When you\u0027re hungry, the best foods are non-processed and consist of lean protein, unsaturated fats and fiber. Eggs and a piece of whole-wheat (not multigrain) toast will do wonders. So will an apple and some raw almonds. It\u0027s lunchtime? Go with grilled chicken and a spinach-leaf salad. Need something quick, easy and practical? Bananas and natural beef jerky are superfoods and store in a golf bag very conveniently. What shouldn\u0027t you eat? Granola bars, most energy bars, crackers, chips, pretzels, candy bars, hot dogs...Should we keep going?\u000AHow to play in heat and humidity\u000A\u000AChoose clothing that\u0027s light-colored and cotton, since cotton breathes and dark colors tend to attract the hot rays of the sun. Pace yourself when walking and spend as much time as possible in the shade. Perspiring is your body\u0027s natural defense against overheating, so it\u0027s vitally important that you drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids before your round, and then take lots of little drinks during the round. Gripping the clubs becomes difficult when you perspire, so make sure you have plenty of dry gloves and towels. Ironically, it\u0027s also a good idea to wet a towel with cold water and use it to wet your hands as you walk down the fairway.\u000AHow to dress for the course\u000A\u000AThe first ground rule is to keep it simple. It\u0027s not necessary to go out and purchase \u0022golf clothing\u0022. Find some sportswear that fits and is comfortable and you\u0027ll be off to a good start. Your can purchase a pair of hybrid (no cleats) golf shoes that will work both on and off course. If you are going to wear shorts, make sure they are long enough to get close to your knee, and purchase calf-length socks. Should you be on the big or small side, keep your color selections conservative and keep everything in the same tone. Lastly, remember that you will be outside, so make sure to wear sunscreen.\u000A\u000A —Marty Hackel, Golf Digest Fashion Director\u000AHow to pack for a golf trip\u000A\u000A Have a game plan. Women tend to pack outfits, while men pack shirts THEN pants THEN shorts. This can lead to over-packing. To make it easy, you should choose your favorite color golf shirt and build your wardrobe around it. Only pack similar colors and you will be able to mix and match. If you are packing blue trousers pack blue shorts and plan to coordinate the rest of your outfit accordingly. Pack lightweight layers (sweater and wind breaker) as it\u0027s easier to add and subtract on course than deal with a heavy outer-garment. And for trips longer than three days I strongly recommend two pair of golf shoes for insurance.\u000A\u000A Lastly, unless you are going to Scottsdale in July, pack your rainwear. Better to have it and not need it than the other way around.\u000A\u000A —Marty Hackel, Golf Digest Fashion Director\u000AHow to tip\u000A\u000AKnowing who to tip and when to tip can be a mystery to many golfers, but don\u0027t let it stress you out. For starters, there\u0027s no harm in asking. If you have a caddie and aren\u0027t sure how much to tip him, the caddie master will be happy to tell you. As for everyone else—the guy in the locker room, the guy who pulls the clubs out of your trunk, the guy who brings you balls at the range—it\u0027s the gesture of tipping that is actually more important than the amount. True, tipping is a way to supplement the income of people who rely on more than just an hourly wage. But you don\u0027t need to stuff someone\u0027s pockets full of twenties to make them feel appreciated. A buck or two is a simple way of acknowledging someone\u0027s efforts.\u000AHow to pick a buddies trip destination\u000A\u000AThere\u0027s no better way to bond with your pals than a buddies golf trip. As you think about where to go, keep in mind that each buddies destination has its own personality. Myrtle Beach (golfholiday.com and Alabama\u0027s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail (rtjgolf.com are great if you want a ton of golf at good prices. But if you\u0027re imagining a more a luxurious getaway, Sea Island, the American Club, or Pebble Beach may be more your speed. Oregon\u0027s Bandon Dunes is fantastic for avid players, but if you\u0027re expecting wild-and-crazy nightlife, you\u0027ll be sorely disappointed. [Cue crickets sound effect.] Start by spending some time on our Buddies Golf page, which has links to articles on these and many other destinations, advice from expert trip-planners, and more. Once you\u0027ve picked a few destinations that seem promising, visit our Course Finder and spend some time comparing the courses in each region.\u000AHow to take a golf photo\u000A\u000AMaybe the most important thing to think about with golf photos is WHEN you\u0027re shooting, since images shot in the harsh light of midday tend to disappoint. Instead, try shooting first thing in the morning, or in that golden hour before sunset, when even your neighborhood muny can look like coffee table material. Next, think about what you\u0027re shooting. Avoid busy backgrounds. And don\u0027t feel compelled to center things in the middle of the frame. Off centering a subject has a way of making things more interesting. And always expose for the grass, not for the sky.\u000A\u000A —Christian Iooss, Director of Photography\u000AHow to join a club\u000A\u000AThe important thing is getting to know as many of the club\u0027s members and its course before making a decision (budget is also important, but these days many clubs are hurting for members and you shouldn\u0027t have trouble finding a good deal). Visiting the club is key—with your family preferably —and playing the golf course more than once or twice. As with marriage and home buying, you\u0027re in this for the long haul, so get a good feel for the place: Is this an old boy\u0027s club? Or is it centered around the family? That sort of thing. Ask yourself: Can I play this course every day? With these folks? If your heart says yes, ask a member to get started with the formal process—which is a real commitment on the member\u0027s part—and you\u0027ll thank yourself for the due diligence.\u000AHow to pick a partner for a team event\u000A\u000AHandicap guys suggest you match Steady Eddie with Wild Willy. You want to be in every hole (close to net par) and Eddie puts you there. If you\u0027re Eddie, you should be looking for Willy, who will give you a chance to score net birdies and eagles. A good way to determine who\u0027s who is to compare \u0022anti-handicaps\u0022—a number based on a golfer\u0027s 10 worst scores out of the last 20 instead of the 10 best, which is how handicaps are calculated. Eddie\u0027s anti-handicap will be close to his real handicap. Wild Willy\u0027s will be much, much higher. Above all, choose someone you like, preferably a good putter, someone who plays at about the same pace as you, and someone who is forgiving—of you and himself.\u000AHow to play a nassau\u000A\u000APerhaps the most popular golf gambling game is a nassau (lowercase n, though it gets its name from Nassau Country Club on Long Island, N.Y., where it originated). It\u0027s a match-play competition between individuals or teams that begins with three wagers: one for the front nine, one for the back and one for the full 18 holes. The amount of each wager is determined before the game begins and each side competes in two nine-hole matches and one 18-hole match. There are many variations to the game, including one where you can add more bets to the mix for any number of reasons. In one scenario, a \u0022press\u0022 bet is added if a team goes 2 down in any of the existing wagers. In another scenario, a team that is trailing can start a new bet at any point.\u000AHow to get the most from a caddie\u000A\u000AYou shouldn\u0027t expect the same from a beginning youngster that you might from a tour caddie, but they should have a number of things in common: A caddie should be prompt, dependable, aware, have knowledge of the rules and know their yardages. None of that takes any special training. A good local caddie will also be able to read greens and alert you to any unique local conditions, such as swirling winds, hidden bunkers, etc. It\u0027s not fair to expect a caddie to be able to \u0022club\u0022 you the first time out. Nobody is that good. Nor is it fair to be abusive to a caddie in any way. Mike Carrick, former caddie for Tom Kite, sums it up pretty well: \u0022Treat your caddie as you would your son.\u0022\u000AHow to get a handicap\u000A\u000AA handicap is an invaluable asset to a golfer because it enables you to monitor your progress, and compete with players of varying ability. For private club members or public golfers affiliated with a specific course, you can often sign up for a USGA handicap through your course. Don\u0027t play any one place? There are golf clubs without real estate that also allow you to maintain a handicap. Better yet is to sign up for the new Golf Digest Handicap. It\u0027s free, simple to use, and to get started, you don\u0027t have to do anything more than click here for details.\u000AHow to use a handicap in a match\u000A\u000AOnce you have a handicap, you need to know how to use it in a match against another golfer. If you both have the same course handicap, the match is played even. If you had a higher course handicap than your opponent, you would get to subtract a handicap stroke on select holes. For example: If you had a course handicap of 15, and your opponent was a 13, subtract one stroke from your score on the two holes rated No. 1 and No. 2 in difficulty. Look at the scorecard and you\u0027ll notice they have been ranked from 1 to 18 (don\u0027t confuse this with the hole number itself).