August 14, 2007

All's fair in love and golf

Q: My wife gets furious if I try to give her a three-foot putt. She thinks I'm being condescending when I'm just trying to save time. Advice?

A: There's a fine line between being rude and maintaining pace of play. Women like to be taken seriously on the course. If you act as if it's a waste of time for your wife to execute any putt less than five feet, you're telling her she's a lousy player and her score doesn't matter. (Even worse is when a guy sticks out a foot to stop a woman's chip from going across the green. Where do you find that in the Rules of Golf?) Help her read the putt instead, and try to make sure you both keep a healthy pace between shots.

Q: My boyfriend plays a lot of golf without me. One of his closest golf buddies is a single, pretty girl. Should I be worried?

A: Absolutely not. If your boyfriend wanted to date this girl, he would. So why worry about something you can't control? Besides, odds are slim there's anything going on between them. Good golf buddies are hard to find: They have to have a similar game to yours, talk the same amount of trash and enjoy taking the type of Sunday-morning bets you prefer. Whether the person is a woman or a man doesn't matter, as long as the person's golf personality works with yours. When you find buddies like this, you hang on to them. But it doesn't mean you want to take them home. Quite the contrary. Most of my good golf buddies are men, and I wouldn't want my relationship with them to change in any way. Least of all by dating them.

Q: Is it rude to ask the woman I'm sharing a cart with to take over the wheel and park behind the green while I chip up, or do I always have to drive?

A: I'm not sure where this notion came from, but there's no need for chivalry in golf, only respectful behavior between all players. This "ladies first" nonsense is a waste of time. You wouldn't hesitate to ask another man. Women who don't feel it's their job to replace the flagstick or drive the cart have no business being on the golf course.

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