Things Every Golfer Should Know.


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Golf is having a hard time naming those clubs that used to be made of wood–they’re called fairway-metals, fairway metal-woods, just plain woods, or, the most ridiculous, “iron-wood.” So Guru, make history, coin a name to take the sport by storm. Russ Barker, Fort Erie, Ontario How many golfers have irons made of iron? How many tins are made of tin? How many nickels are made of nickel? It doesn’t matter what the club is made of–wood, steel, graphite, titanium, xenon, ytterbium or zirconium. Woods are woods, irons are irons.

I read that it is legal to use the logo on a ball for alignment when putting. I draw a line around the entire ball for lineup as well as ball identification. Is this legal?

Chuck Thomas, Moreno Valley, Calif.

Assuming you don’t alter the ball’s size or weight, there is no restriction on what you draw on it. Dots, lines and scribbles are fine, as are images of ex-wives, fanatical politicians or Barney the Dinosaur. Channeled anger can add 20 yards to your tee shots.

While my brother and I were playing, we noted that we never see tour pros reach across the hole to tap in a putt like we amateurs do. They walk around to their ball before tapping in. Does reaching across the hole violate a rule? Pete Leseberg, Eagle, Idaho

You’re not allowed to putt “from a stance astride, or with either foot touching, the line of putt.” No croquet shots allowed. But the “line of putt” doesn’t extend beyond the hole, so the reach across tap-in is fine. The pros, however, can’t be too careful. Who can forget Hale Irwin whiffing a tap-in at the 1983 British Open at Royal Birkdale (14th hole, third round)? He finished a stroke behind the winner, Tom Watson.

Guru update: In the May issue, I made a passing reference to “the one about Arnold Palmer and the pope.” A lot of people wrote to say they want to hear the joke. Here it is:

A summit is held to decide once and for all which of the world’s religions is right. After many days of good-natured talk, no progress has been made. A Muslim delegate suggests a golf match to settle the issue: Each religion puts forward its best player, and a knockout match ensues. The Catholics and the Jews reach the final. The pope, determined to win, calls his old friend Arnold Palmer and explains that he’d like him to represent the Catholic church in the all-important final.

“I’d love to, Your Holiness,” says Arnie. “But I’m not a Catholic.”

“Don’t worry about that,” replies the pontiff.

“I’ll make you a cardinal.” Arnie is ordained. On the big day, the pope anxiously awaits word of the outcome at the Vatican. The phone rings. The news is bad.

“Arnold,” he says, “how could you lose?”

“I’m sorry, sir,” replies Arnie. “I played well. But you should have seen my opponent.”

“Who was your opponent?”

“Rabbi Tiger Woods.”

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