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Ask Stina

All's Fair In Love And Golf

April 2012

Q: I take lessons with the head pro at my new club, but we're not a good match. I want to switch and get a lesson from his assistant. How do I "break up" with my pro?
A: Do it nicely, honestly and soon. Clicking with an instructor is as important as hitting it off with a date or a therapist. If there's no connection or mutual understanding, you're wasting your time and money. Tell him you respect his expertise but believe his assistant is a better fit for you based on what you've observed. Put the blame on yourself, and use a warm, lighthearted tone; you can even make a joke about how you'll come back to him once you get a little better. If your pro is any kind of, well, professional, he'll put you at ease and let you know you're doing the right thing. One thing is certain: It won't be the first time he gets dumped. It's an occupational hazard.

Q: What's the proper etiquette when you're playing with someone who doesn't fill his divot holes or fix his ball marks?
A: It depends on how well you know the person. If it's a work buddy or relative, by all means offer a friendly reminder. Tell him $1 goes into the 19th-hole fund for every divot that goes unfilled. If you're playing with a stranger, a business client or your boss, a more subtle approach is better. For example, take a moment to fix a few ball marks on every green, or bring a canister of sand before hitting a fairway shot. If you pass the other player's divot, fill it quickly, then keep moving. Sooner or later, he or she will catch on.

Q: My daughter got me a pair of golf shoes with nubs on the soles but no removable cleats. Is it OK to wear them to the office, then play golf?
A: In a pinch, yes, but don't make a habit of it if you want them to last. Street golf shoes, which are designed to look like leisure shoes and have spikeless outsoles with permanent traction features, are popular right now. You might be tempted to wear them all the time because they're comfortable and trendy. But these shoes are designed to be worn on grass, not pavement. If you wear them only for golf, the soles will last a lot longer. (To see our favorite models, check out the Golf Digest Shoe Guide.)

To submit your comments or questions, please email stina@golfdigest.com.

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