124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2


All's Fair In Love And Golf

By Stina Sternberg Illustrations by John Ritter
July 28, 2011

__Q: I've noticed a trend of music being played on the golf course, with the latest example being a golf cart parked next to a green with music blaring while the players were putting. Are you OK with this?

__ A: I love hitting balls on the range or playing a solitary practice round with iPod headphones set to the Dave Matthews Band. Listening to music makes for great tempo training and allows me to shut out my surroundings so I can find that elusive "zone." But the key words here are "solitary" and "headphones." Unless your group is in agree- ment about the music and you're on a deserted course with no other groups around, hanging a boom box from your cart and blasting Lady Gaga at full tilt would definitely constitute poor etiquette.

Q: What's the right thing to say to my wife, a beginning golfer, after she whiffs a shot? I've tried being nice. I've tried giving her advice. But no matter what I say, she just gets mad at me.

A: Have you tried saying nothing, acting indifferent and simply moving on to your ball? In most cases, that's the best thing to do. Men seem to have a primal need to "fix" things whenever women have a problem, when all we really want is silent support. This is especially true on the golf course, where embarrassing shots are typically followed by such frustration that nothing anybody says can make a person feel better. The next time your wife misses the ball, just leave her alone, and don't try to fix anything for her. Give her some space and let her take her time to get it right, then offer a simple "good shot" when she finally does. Let a teaching pro handle her instruction.

Q: I just learned that tour pros change out their golf balls every couple of holes. Do balls really get worn that quickly? How often should a Regular Joe like me switch?

__A:__Tour players are of a different breed than average golfers. For starters, they swing at incredible speeds, so a tiny scuff mark on a ball might mean the difference of a couple of feet in distance or direction on an approach shot. Such a miss could cost a pro thousands of dollars. Plus, most tour players get a limitless supply of free golf balls from their sponsors. Unless you have a similar arrangement, there's no need to retire your golf ball until it has noticeable damage. Let's hope that means you'll get at least a round or two out of it--if you don't lose it first.

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