Ask StinaMay 28, 2008

A round of golf is the ideal first date

Q: I've often heard that a movie is a terrible first date because you can't talk to your partner. What do you think of a round of golf as a first date?

A: In an ideal world, all first dates would take place on a golf course. Think about it: There's no better way to find out quickly what another person is made of. Does he get mad after every bad shot? That's a sign of a bad temper. Does she take 20 minutes to read a green? Then she's probably an indecisive person. Does he swipe away four-footers? Kick him to the curb -- he has no integrity. But most of all, playing a round of golf is the best way to learn if you can have fun together. And that's the key to every relationship.

Q: A female co-worker sometimes joins us (three guys) for a round of golf. She is just as mediocre as we are -- all four of us play to about a 17-handicap and drive the ball 190 to 220 yards -- but she insists on playing from the women's tees. It's frustrating when one ball is often 80 to 100 yards closer to the green because it was hit from the forward tees. Shouldn't we all be playing from the same tees?

A: If your female co-worker is consistently driving the ball more than 200 yards, then she is by no means "mediocre," and you're right, she probably should move back at least one tee. But I have a feeling you think she hits it farther than she really does because her ball lands closer to the green than yours. This, however, is by design. Good courses are set up to give every player the same type of shot into the green, not the same distance. For instance, if the average man has a 160-yard 5-iron to the green, the average woman should have a 110-yard 5-iron. So the next time you play, ask your friend what club she's using on every second shot. If it's similar to yours, then she's playing from the correct tees. But if she's hitting wedge and you're struggling to reach with a long iron, you have a legitimate beef, and she should move back.

Q: I see some golf balls marketed to women. Is there really a difference between those and regular balls, and what should I buy my 25-handicap wife?

A: There is definitely a difference in the way golf balls perform, depending on their design and the players who hit them. It's fair to say women in general have slower and more sweeping swings than most men, and therefore need more help getting the ball airborne. So women-specific balls are generally designed to produce higher shots, and they're also softer to be more responsive for slower swingers. Unless your wife is really strong and hits the ball a long way, you can steer her toward a women's ball such as the Precept Lady S III or the Nike Precision PD Power Lady.

To submit comments or questions, e-mail Sternberg at stina@golfdigest.com