Q:__ When I'm at the range, guys always try to offer me swing tips. Is it polite for a lady like me to say "no thanks"?__
A: Not only is it OK to say "no thanks," it's even fine to leave out the "thanks." It irks me when men (many of whom can't break 100) approach women they don't know on the range and dispense advice. Do you think a guy would ever walk up to another guy on the range and say, "Hey, buddy, you're lifting up through impact"? So what makes men think women are going to be open to swing suggestions? If you insist on letting these guys down easy, you can thank them but say that you're working on some things with your teaching pro and would rather not receive conflicting advice.
Q:__ Why do men have to remove their hats indoors (even in the golf shop) but it's OK for women to leave their hats on? __
A: The world is full of double standards, and golf has more than its share. On the pro tours, women can wear shorts but men can't; at some private clubs, men can eat lunch in the grillroom but women can't. This hat-removal tradition is an antiquated remnant from the days when women wore hats for fashion and men wore them mostly to protect their heads. Back then, asking a woman to remove her hat would have been like asking her to take off her shoes. But I believe men should be allowed to keep their hats on, too.
READERS SMOKIN' MAD
My strong stance against public cigar smoking (November) resulted in a pile of reader hate mail so large that I could barely find my way to my desk (some of the e-mails in my inbox were downright scary). Most of the wrath was aimed at my statement that I've been known to snatch a cigar out of a guy's mouth and stomp it out in a crowded tournament gallery. Let me clarify: This did happen once, on Sunday of the 1999 Ryder Cup. I had repeatedly asked a man standing behind me in the jampacked gallery to put out his cigar. But he was intoxicated and had a major case of the giggles, which continued even after I grabbed his cigar, so there was never much concern about my losing any front teeth. Although I might not be as lucky the next time, I'll continue to confront people who smoke cigars in crowded public spaces such as a tournament gallery. They're being inconsiderate and obnoxious and should be stopped. But if you're with your buddies on the golf course, feel free to puff away until your lips burn.
To submit comments or questions, e-mail Stina at firstname.lastname@example.org.