Ask Golf Digest

May 30, 2019
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Day Three

Photo by David Cannon/Getty Image

Q: I keep wondering why PGA Tour caddies, almost to a man, continue to wear shorts when the weather is cold, windy and wet? Is it a macho caddie thing?
ANDREW WASSERMAN, coral springs, fla.

A: They do it in part, we believe, to show off those great calves. But veteran looper Kip Henley—currently working for the PGA Tour's Austin Cook—says there's more to it than that: “Caddies pack light. We want to avoid baggage fees and enjoy convenience when checking in and out of hotels. And a player's bag with his extra gear is already heavy as hell. We follow the sun, so there are only two places on earth that every caddie will have rain and cold gear: Pebble Beach and the Open. A side note to all of this is Padraig Harrington's brother-in-law and caddie, Ronan. If you ever see him in a pair of pants, he'll be lying in a casket. He's Irish, and they take pride in freezing their asses off.”

A friend plays both right- and left-handed using the same handicap. Should he have a different handicap for each side?

He should not. While ambidextrous golf is super-impressive and ranks high on our list of “cool things we could not begin to do well,” the USGA takes a firm stance on this one: Your friend can have only one Handicap Index. It needs to be based on his best scores in any round, not just the ones playing lefty or righty. (See the USGA Handicap Manual, Section 1, Handicap Decision 1–1/1.)

Is there any penalty if a player putts from two to three inches away with the flagstick still in and hits the stick with his putter on his follow-through?

There is no penalty for inadvertently striking the flagstick while putting. But we do wonder just how hard you are hitting this gimme putt if your follow-through reaches all the way to the stick. Maybe dial it back just a little?

My ball was in a bunker when my friend's ball landed directly on top of it, driving mine deep into the sand. It took me three to get out. Did I have to play my ball as I found it?

You did not! When a ball is deflected by another ball, you must replace it (without penalty) as close as possible to where it was struck and recreate the original lie as much as possible. See Rule 9.6.