All's Fair In Love And Golf

By Stina Sternberg Illustrations by John Ritter
July 16, 2012

__Q: My 19-year-old daughter likes golf, but no matter what I tell her about dress codes, she always shows up to play in tank tops and short skirts. I've had to buy her a new top in the golf shop more than once. How can I get her to dress appropriately?

__ A: If your daughter thinks golf dress codes are archaic, I happen to agree. It's the only sport that still mandates collared shirts with sleeves for no practical reason. But rules are rules, and whether you're a woman wearing a tank top or a man wearing cargo shorts, expect to be flagged when you get to most golf courses. Your daughter is an adult, which means you can't force her to wear anything she doesn't want to, but if you're the one paying her green fee, you can still have a say. Tell her you're fine with her short shorts and camisoles at courses that allow them, but from now on you won't take her to a new course unless she calls the golf shop in advance and asks about the dress code. If she shows up at another club dressed inappropriately, tell her she's going to have to pay for her new outfit or go home. Suggest looking into apparel brands such as Adidas, Nike, Puma and Lija. They make golf clothing that's youthful and hip without going too far.

Q: I play a lot of business golf with men, and the cart is always set up for my male cart mate to drive. I find it easier to play efficiently if I drive. Is it rude to ask if I can take the wheel?

A: Not at all; I do it all the time if I have to take a cart. To me, it makes more sense for the woman to drive, because I typically play with men who aren't used to stopping at the forward tees or are more concerned with chivalry than pace of play. To make sure I get behind the wheel, I try to get to the course early and tell the staffer who puts the bags on the carts to place mine on the left.

Q: At what point do I tell my wife (a beginner) to just pick up and move on? I don't want to discourage her, but I also want to get home before dark.

__A:__It's important for all new golfers to learn to keep up with the pace of play, but telling your wife to "just pick up" is a bit condescending. Be respectful in helping her find ways to speed up. For instance, before your next round, tell her that many new golfers stick to a double-par system. Once she has made an 8 on a par 4, it's OK to pocket the ball. Odds are she won't feel as stressed if you establish this beforehand.

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