Q: I'm thinking about combining a vacation cruise with a golf trip. Yes or no?
—Walter Weaver, Topeka, Kan.
A: Building golf into a standard cruise itinerary takes some planning, but it's doable. Just be ready to hustle to and from the course, because most ships stay in port for only eight to 10 hours. During a seven-day Carnival cruise, one of our editors played four rounds on four Caribbean islands. Including green fees, it came to $1,500 a person. A pricier option: Specialized golf cruises, like the ones offered by Windstar, along the Scottish and Irish coasts, run about $6,800 a person for a 10-day trip.
Q: Sometimes our fourth is a no-show. What's a good match to play as a threesome?
—Edward Grissom, Chicago
A: A simple skins game works great—a "skin," or point, goes to the winner of each hole. If there's a tie, that skin carries over to the winner of the next hole. Another fun game for three: Each hole is worth six points. Winner of the hole gets four points, the runner-up gets two and the loser gets none. When two players tie for the best score on a hole, they get three points each, and the third player gets zero. Everyone shoots the same score? Two points all around. As with skins, you can make the points worth whatever you want.
Q: I play a course with pretty slow greens. Would a heavier putter help?
—Jennifer Smythe, Burlington, Vt.
A heavy putter—one in which the head weighs 360 grams or more—is a good choice no matter what the green speed is. It has more stability, and so will your stroke. And a stable stroke equals no more yips. Putters today are generally heavier than they were a generation ago. Some, including counterbalanced models that feature additional weight in the grip, have heads weighing as much as 400 grams.
Q: My friend says the USGA's "new groove rule" means I need to change my wedges to play in our club championship. True?
—Charlie O'Neal, Oakland
Theoretically your club can make any rule it wants, but your friend is what we in the trade call "misinformed" or "a chowderhead." The groove rule, which went into effect on the pro tours in 2010, applies only to elite amateur events (mostly USGA championships) starting this year. It might be required of all golfers after additional review, but not before 2024. In the meantime, we don't know of many clubs or even state associations that have made their members buy new wedges.
What is "dormie"?
A phrase whose use indicates you are a golf snob.
Bandon Dunes or Branson, Mo.?
How badly do you want to see the "70s Music Celebration! Starring Barry Williams"?
Why are ladies' tees usually red?
Shut up, they're "forward tees."
Anklet socks: white or black?
I found a "brush tee," and I swear I'm hitting the ball straighter and farther now. Why is that?
The Brush-t brand conforms to the USGA's Rules of Golf, which say a tee "must not unduly influence the movement of the ball." So your gains might be psychological. The fact that these tees (and others like them) set the ball at a proper height could be helping. But, hey, if it's working, why question it?