Q If I'm playing a match against my girlfriend and I can tell that she really wants to win, should I purposely throw the match so our evening is more enjoyable?
A If you believe you have to fold a golf match to keep your girlfriend in a good mood, I'm afraid you have bigger problems than I can help you with. Letting your girlfriend win might seem like an easy way to keep her happy, but it will only lead to more trouble. You have to be a good actor to pull off a believable fold, and you'll always know that you threw the match, which means she'll also likely sense it. In the long run, she'll resent you more for that than if you beat her fair and square. The whole balance of your relationship will shift. If your girlfriend is the type of player who can't stand losing to her boyfriend, then don't play matches against her. Pair up as a team and take on other couples instead. That way you'll always be equals.
Q I've heard you talk about "ready golf" in the past. Would you recommend a woman tee off first if she can't reach the group in front of her but the men in her foursome can?
A Absolutely -- as long as it saves time, and the course design allows for it. If I'm sharing a cart with a guy and the forward tees are within walking distance, I'll grab my driver and walk to my tee while he's waiting to tee off. If he's still waiting when I get there, I'll happily go first. Then I'll get out of harm's way while my playing companion tees off and wait to get picked up after he's done. But if it will take me longer to walk to my tee than it would for the fairway to clear, I'll wait. I can still use the time to take a couple of practice swings and make sure I'm ready to swing away once we reach my tee. Common sense should prevail. It's really no different from ready golf in the fairway.
Q My wife shoots about 105 and moves right along, but she gets intimidated when golfers come up behind us. Even when the course is jammed and there's no place to go, she'll start rushing and really lose her game because she doesn't want to appear to be slow. I tell her to take her time, but it doesn't help. Is there anything you can suggest?
A It's funny, you don't often see men fretting about holding other players up on the golf course, but a lot of women are so afraid to be labeled "slow" that they let it ruin their games. If your attempts to relax your wife aren't helping, there's only one solution that will work: Let the group behind you play through. I know this might go against what you've been told -- especially when the course is packed -- but trust me, it will make your wife feel better and allow her to relax. And if done properly, such as on a par 3, it shouldn't delay your round too much.