October 7, 2008

All's Fair In Love And Golf

Q:__ What's your take on cigars? Do women care if a man in the group is puffing away? Should I offer them one?__

A: I realize I'm somewhat of a hypocrite to say this (years ago, I used to smoke cigarettes on the golf course), but there are few things I hate more than the smell of cigar smoke. It's just foul—and much worse than cigarette smoke (even though I now detest that, too). I'm all for letting people indulge their vices on their own time, but there's something disrespectful about this particular habit because it pollutes the air for everybody around the person smoking. So when a playing partner asks me if it's OK for him to have a cigar, I usually say, "Sure, as long as I don't have to smell it." Then I stay as far away from him as I can while the stogie is lit. If someone is smoking a cigar next to me in the gallery at a golf tournament, I'm less polite. In crowded public places like that, I've been known to grab a cigar out of a guy's mouth and stomp it out.

Q:__ Whenever I go on a golf trip with the boys, I always try to buy my wife a souvenir from the golf shop (she plays, too). I'm not a very good clothes shopper for women—especially golf clothes. What would you suggest? __

A: Buying clothes for the woman in your life is never easy. The fit varies from brand to brand, so if your wife isn't present to try the clothes on, you might have to make an educated guess. To avoid disaster, err on the slightly larger side (although don't buy her an XL shirt if she's normally an M—that would be a major insult), and stay away from bottoms. Women like golf shirts with logos from cool clubs and resorts just as much as guys do, so that's always a good option. I'd encourage you to purchase a shirt that has some style instead of a plain, boring polo. Jackets and sweaters are a nice choice, and if your wife is anything like me, she'd love a hat or visor. The important thing is to show that you have put some thought into your gift. Try to get matching pieces, and have anything you buy gift-wrapped. Another nice touch is to throw in a dozen women-specific logoed golf balls. Odds are she'd appreciate those more than anything just like any male golfer.

Q:__ There are several left-handed players on the PGA Tour. Have there been, or are there, any lefties on the LPGA Tour? I've never heard of one. __

A: There have been only five left-handed players in the history of the LPGA Tour (most recently Kelly Lagedrost, who left the tour after the 2006 season). The only left- handed LPGA Tour champion was Bonnie Bryant, who won the 1974 Bill Branch LPGA Classic at Loch-moor Country Club in North Fort Myers, Fla. This is because of the limited equipment offerings for left-handed women; until recently, it was almost impossible to find left-handed women's clubs. If you were a young girl who wanted to play golf, you had to do it right-handed. Thankfully, this has begun to change—you can now find left-handed toddler clubs for girls—and you can expect to see more lefties on the LPGA Tour.

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