November 4, 2008

All's Fair In Love And Golf

Q:__ I'm dating a guy who says he's a 12-handicapper (I have a 4.5 Index). The first time we played, he couldn't break 110. If he lies about this, what else might he lie about? Should I dump him?__

A: If you like this guy, then no, you shouldn't dump him. Men lie about their handicaps all the time, just like women lie about age and shoe size. It's more of an ego thing than a serious character flaw. And, oddly enough, "12" seems to be the USGA Handicap Index most commonly quoted by players who never post a score and don't have a clue as to what their actual handicap is. The more important question is whether the two of you can enjoy playing together, even though you're at different skill levels. My husband isn't a great golfer, but I have more fun playing with him than anyone because he's so passionate about the game that nothing ever gets him down. And he has no problem getting his butt kicked by me. We have issues only when I lose and sulk.

Q:__ If my son has grown out of junior clubs but is too small for men's clubs, can I give him women's clubs? If he knew, he might throw a fit. __

A: Ideally, junior golfers should upgrade their clubs at least every two seasons so they're never play-ing with equipment that's too long or too short for their growing bodies (that means, for most boys, a period of playing with women's clubs, usually during their mid-teens). But every kid is different, and some grow so fast that they can go straight from junior clubs to men's clubs (especially because companies such as U.S. Kids Golf make 10-club sets for "advanced" junior players as tall as 5-feet-3). The best thing you can do for your son is to take him to a reputable golf shop or retailer and put him through a thorough fitting. If the fitter suggests going with women's clubs for a while, there are plenty of models that don't look "girly," and your son's friends would never be the wiser.

Q:__ There seems to be a huge difference in the length courses set their forward tees. What length is ideal for a woman who is playing her first few rounds? __

A: If you want a quick answer, I'd say less than 5,000 yards. A more accurate way is to determine how far she hits a 5-iron. Take that number and multiply it by 36. That's her ideal yardage.

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