All's Fair In Love And Golf

By Stina Sternberg Illustrations by John Ritter
January 25, 2014

__Q: My friend bought a new driver and claims he can hit it 300 yards. How can I call his bluff without it turning into a fight?

__ A: You could say something like, "Wow, that's amazing considering that in 2013, Tiger Woods' average was 293 yards." But if I were you, I'd just let it go. There's usually a big difference between the distance amateur golfers think they hit their driver and their actual driving distance. Sure, every once in a while, the Average Joe will catch one on the screws on a downhill par 5—where the yardages on the scorecard are off by 20 yards—and think he just outdrove Bubba Watson. But the reality is: The average driving distance for male golfers isn't much more than 200 yards. Another thing to consider is that even though your friend isn't hitting it 300, he's likely smoking his drives past where he used to hit it, so he probably feels as if it's going 300. As we've documented many times at Golf Digest, amateurs can gain upward of 40 yards with a properly fitted adjustable driver.

So instead of calling him on his lofty claim, be a sport and let him hold onto the fantasy that he drives it past Adam Scott (298-yard average) for as long as he can.

Q: Iron headcovers, yea or nay?

A: A really big nay. They're pace-of-play killers, easy to lose and, let's face it, dorky. If you've spent $1,300 on new irons, I understand the desire to keep your clubs shiny and dent-free. But do yourself a favor and invest in a golf bag with individual club dividers instead.

Q: I thought cursing and throwing clubs were part of the game. But I'm getting the feeling that if I don't control my temper, I'm going to be playing alone a lot more. Any advice?

A: Here's a tip: Snap out of it! You're not in prison or in a hospital, or even at your desk at work. You're outside playing golf in a beautiful setting with people you like. When you look at it that way, no matter how poorly you're scoring, you have no right to be angry. Rumor has it that I used to have a bit of a temper when I played (although I have no clue where anyone would get that idea). Over the years I've learned that getting mad on a golf course is an insult to nature and my playing companions. To lose the negativity, I forced myself to stop caring so much about my game and started focusing on what was around me—the beauty of the course, the good time my friends were having, the great weather, etc. I also stopped adding my score until I was back at the clubhouse after the round. You know what I found out? The minute I was able to control my temper, my game started to improve. Imagine that?

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We asked Jonathan Pogash, "the cocktail guru," for drink recipes that will remove the chill from frostbit golfers. Ask for one at your 19th hole.

Clubhouse Toddy

• 1½ oz. Blue Chair Bay white rum

• 3 oz. hot cider, to top it off

Directions: Add these ingredients directly to a toddy mug.

Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg

Spicy Espresso

• 3 oz. hot espresso (watered down, as an Americano)

• ¾ oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

• ½ oz. Thatcher's chipotle liqueur

• ½ oz. simple syrup

Directions: Add this to a toddy mug and stir gently.

Garnish: Candied ginger


19th-Hole Soother

• 1½ oz. Tap 357 Maple Rye

• 1 tsp. Sugar in the Raw

• 1 tsp. absinthe

• 3 oz. boiling water

Directions: Add the ingredients to a toddy mug and stir well.

Garnish: Cloved orange slice

St. Andrews Tipple (pictured)

• 3 oz. hot chai tea (brewed)

• 1 oz. scotch (something smoky)

• ½ oz. Drambuie

• 1 tsp. honey

Directions: Add ingredients directly to a toddy mug and stir well.

Garnish: Lemon slice