All's Fair In Love And Golf

By Stina Sternberg Illustrations by John Ritter
January 05, 2010

Q:* My girlfriends and I occasionally play against men, and they always whine about giving us strokes when we get to hit from the shorter tees. What do you recommend we do to make it more fair?*

A: I suggest you tell them to move up to the front tees if they're having problems losing to a girl. Whatever you do, don't succumb to the pressure and give up strokes or move back a tee. You're following the USGA's Handicap System, just like you should. As long as you post your scores with the proper Course Rating from the tees you play, your handicap is accurate and the yardage is taken into consideration.

Most men fail to recognize that the average female golfer, according to our research, hits her driver about 145 yards and her 7-iron 90 yards -- not because she's a bad golfer, but because she's physically weaker. So even if a guy has to give up 100 yards off the tee on a 500-yard par 5, the average woman will still be hitting driver, 5-wood, 5-wood to reach the green in regulation, and he's likely to have driver, 5-wood, wedge to the same hole. In my book, that's not fair. So take all the strokes you're allowed. You deserve them.

Q:* When guys razz each other during a round, we say things like, "Does your husband play?" "Did the wind blow up your skirt?" and "Nice putt, Nancy." What kind of things do women say?*

A: Women say, "Aww, that's too bad. But at least your pitch shot was great!" In other words, we don't give each other grief, no matter how well we know each other. Instead, we encourage each other and emphasize the positive. It's kind of an unwritten social rule. I think gentle ribbing can be fun, but when I'm with a group of women, I stick to niceties. Instead, I get my fill of smack-talking when I play with guys. But "Does your husband play?" is older than balata.

Another Good Tip: Is your hat starting to look gross? You can wash it on the top shelf of a dishwasher, and it will retain its shape.

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