PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

Ask Golf Digest

By The Editors Illustrations by Kelsey Dake
May 28, 2014

Q: Does anyone but the pros go back to the tee and reload after they search for their ball and discover it's either lost or out-of-bounds?

—Joe Clifford, Maryville, Tenn. A: Nope. Well, OK, let us qualify that a little. If you're playing in your club championship or a USGA-sanctioned tournament, then, yes, you have to take a penalty stroke and go back and hit from that spot again. But honestly? With rare exceptions, nobody goes back and reloads. Imagine how slow play would be.

Q: I'm an 18-handicapper. How many wedges should I use?

—Andy Jones, Petaluma, Calif.

A: Four. You'll want a standard pitching wedge (usually 44 to 46 degrees), plus wedges of 50, 54 and 58 degrees. You don't hit a lot of greens in regulation, right? And those three-quarter wedge shots are a beast. With four wedges, you can make full swings into those greens from a variety of distances.

Q: What's the hardest private club to join?

—Sam Garcia, Myrtle Beach

Most golf clubs—even the super-elites, like San Francisco Golf Club, Cypress Point, National Golf Links of America—are easier to join than they were in the 1990s and 2000s. Perhaps not surprisingly, Augusta National, home of the Masters, remains the consensus toughest to join. As architect Rees Jones says, "It's the hardest because you don't join it, it joins you." You have to be invited, and often you don't even know you're being considered until the invitation arrives. Conversely, if you want to join, don't ask.

Q: Who is the funniest guy on tour?

—Roger Rogero, Minneapolis

With the caveat that one person's hilarious! is another's really?, we nominate Englishman David Lynn, 40. He's a prankster who happens to play professional golf. Signature move: using a Sharpie to change the letters on Ian Poulter's license plate to read "Tampax." His Twitter account (@DaveLynndawg

) is a near-constant stream of juvenile jokes and goofy photos. If you're into that sort of thing.


Before his death on March 19, Ethan Shelton of Niles, Mich., was the world's oldest golfer (110 years, eight months, nine days). He appeared in our May issue, in an article about longevity. Its author, John Barton, says he came across "plenty" of golfers north of 100 while researching the article but "no one close to 110." Know of any? Shoot us a note.


What's a "press" when you're playing for money?

Another way to lose five bucks.

Golf shoes: Really?

Yes. Without them, you look lost.

What's a "championship" course?

One that is probably too difficult. But go on, play it and have fun!

I hear St. Andrews isn't that great, that the Old Course is famous just because it's ancient. True?

As a Scottish friend says, "Yer aff yer heid!"


I often shoot my best scores when I haven't been playing or practicing much. Anyone else?

You're not weird. "When you haven't played in a while, you tend to have no memories of bad swings or bad shots," explains sport psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella. "You keep things simple. Combine this with low expectations, and it's a great mind-set to play golf with."

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