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All's Fair In Love And Golf

October 2010

Q: Is there a way to tell my wife that I won't be home for our 10th wedding anniversary and not have her divorce or kill me? I got an invitation to join my buddies for an all-expenses-paid golf trip to Hilton Head that weekend, and I really want to go.

A: As a golfer, I can understand your dilemma. But as a married woman, I'd also understand if your wife backed her car over your golf bag. If you're set on going, then plan an elaborate anniversary party or a romantic trip for the weekend before your anniversary. In addition, buy her the nicest piece of jewelry you can afford. Tell her about your elaborate anniversary plans before you tell her the date you want to celebrate -- and the reason you can't be with her for the actual anniversary. Hopefully, she won't be too upset about the timing. Give her the jewelry the day you leave for your golf trip, and any lingering resentment she feels should vanish. Sound too pricey? Think of it this way: It's a lot cheaper than a divorce.

Q: When I'm the passenger in a golf cart, I prefer that the driver stops so my ball is on my side of the cart. It makes it easier to select a club and play the next shot. Why do some golfers think this is ridiculous to expect?

A: I can think of two reasons: (1) Positioning the cart behind the person swinging can be dangerous. Whether you're in a cart or walking, you always want to be at a safe distance facing the person swinging so he won't have to worry about hitting you. (2) Who even thinks about this? If you're too lazy to walk around the cart to assess your lie and then go back to pull a club, the effort of actually swinging the club might be too exhausting for you.

Q: I'm 11, and my highest- lofted club is 54 degrees. I believe I could improve my chipping if I had a higher-lofted club. I have the money, but my dad just doesn't get it. What should I do?

A: Kudos for wanting to spend your allowance on golf gear, but I'm with your dad on this one. At 11 years old, you're much better off practicing different chip shots with one wedge, and it shouldn't have too much loft. That way, you'll develop great greenside touch and learn to be creative with your short game. Lob wedges are convenient crutches for average Joes who struggle to hit anything but low chips. Because you're starting young, you have the opportunity to establish a short game that's far better than average. Seve Ballesteros, who won five major championships, learned with just a 3-iron, and he would later hit great bunker shots with a 5-iron. His short game was unsurpassed.

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