The $500 Question\n\nHow much more can you get from your game\n\nfor five Franklins?\nIf your ineptitude on the greens has brought you to the brink, a putter fitting might be your answer. Putter fitting these days often depends on special tools that attach to the shaft of a putter and records seismic date before, during, and after your putting stroke. A fitting might tell you you need a different putter, or it might just tell you you should tweak the one you have. Regardless, if the result is a putter that seems less like a serpent and more an extension of your arms, it's likely to be money well spent.\n\nThe right kind of rain gear should be expected to last. And it means nasty conditions don't have to mean the end of your round. Anything with Gore-Tex is waterproof, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee. Throw in a bucket rain hat and a good umbrella, and the foul weather could end up being an advantage against your opponents.\nIf you and your spouse have young children and full-time careers, playing golf together might seem like a luxury. But a babysitter who will allow you to sneak off for a round could be worth it, especially if it allows for conversations about something other than Thomas the Tank Engine. For the sake of your golf game, your marriage, and your sanity, it could be time to splurge on a midday date.\nCollecting golf memorabilia can be an immensely rewarding pastime, one that allows for a tangible link to history. Vintage balls, books and other publications, for instance, are items that are finite in number, and whose value are likely to grow over time. So much of what we love about golf is fleeting, but these collectibles can be with you forever.\nWhen you play golf in your golden years, you don't want to be bunting the ball 40 yards down the fairway and shuffling after it in a permanently hunched-over position. One preemptive solution is to hire a golf-fitness trainer who will provide a workout routine that can last, and who can provide a shopping list of items you need for your home gym. It's better than a gym membership, and it sure beats a chronically-sore back.\nSerious golfers carry only stuff with indispensable utility value, but accessories have a place, too. A drawstring pouch, for instance, or a wet-side/dry-side players' towel. Then there are small items like a balm for muscle tweaks, or a washcloth for placing on the back of your neck on a hot day. There's no shame in a bag that is fully prepared.\nThe good news is your spouse wants to take up golf. But regardless of your level of expertise, you're probably better off leaving the teaching to someone else. Spending money on a good instructor puts the onus on a qualified professional, and allows you to steer clear of complications. If you're looking to play together for years to come, it's best to start out on a clean slate.\nEveryone wants to do Pebble Beach or Bandon Dunes, but there are plenty of worthwhile golf trips you can do on a limited budget. Drive to your destination. Find affordable lodging. When it comes to booking tee times, look for bargain rates. Take the right steps this time and you'll have a formula in place for years to come.