Ask StinaAugust 20, 2013

All's Fair In Love And Golf

__Q: My husband and I are playing in our first team tournament. We need tips on strategy and on how to not end up divorced by the next day.

__ A: Congrats on your courage. The husband-and-wife team event can test your relationship. But if you do it right, it can be a lot of fun and good for your marriage. The majority of these events are played in some type of modified alternate-shot format, so from a strategy standpoint, remember that the most important shot on every hole is the one into the green. Therefore, if you have the better player hit the approach shot whenever possible, you'll improve your chances of doing well. To avoid any problems, have a talk with your husband before the event to emphasize that your goal is to do something fun together. During the round, make sure to stay respectful and encouraging, and don't let nerves turn into anger. Even if you're competitive and want to win the event, agree to make "no-pressure fun" the mantra for the day.

Q: I let a colleague play with me and my regular group last Sunday. He's nice but new to the game and an awful golfer. Since then, he keeps asking to play with us again. How do I shake him without looking mean?

A: Why shake him? One of golf's biggest problems is the snobbery better players display toward beginners. This game is losing participants, and the intimidating atmosphere newcomers feel has a lot to do with it. You probably made your colleague's summer by letting him join your group. Of course he's going to want to do it again. And though I understand the drawbacks of being paired with a beginner (slower rounds; you can't bet the way you normally do; etc.), think of the good you're doing by including him. You're helping him gain confidence on the course and fall in love with golf. You're growing the game! So even if you don't want to play with him every week, do it now and then.

Q: Why do tour pros use those giant staff bags? Wouldn't it be easier for their caddies to carry something lighter?

A: It certainly would. But it wouldn't do much for the players' endorsement deals. The reason for the big bag is that it creates a bigger billboard. Think of a tour-pro bag as the equivalent of a car running in the Daytona 500. NASCAR drivers cover their cars with as many endorsement deals as possible. If anything, expect the staff bags to get bigger in the future.

*To submit your comments or questions, please email stina@golfdigest.com.