Proper etiquette: Being Invited as a Private Country Club Guest

It’s your lucky day, you’ve been invited to play as a guest at a private country club.  An exclusive place where people typically pay high initiation fees and yearly dues to have a club to call their own.   Be a good guest and understand what is your responsibility.


  1. Look the part.  Ask about the dress code beforehand.  Common dress code for men is shorts or pants, with a polo shirt tucked in with a belt.  Many private country clubs will refuse cargo shorts and make you purchase a new pair in the golf shop.  Dress code for women is typically a polo shirt, and shorts or a skort that hits 3 inches above the knee.  It is not necessary for a woman to tuck in her shirt.
  2. Clubhouse behavior.  Depending on where you are located, wearing golf shoes through the clubhouse is forbidden, so be sure to arrive in loafers with your golf shoes toted in a nice shoe bag.  Changing into your shoes in the locker room is appropriate.    Also, be sure to take off your baseball cap in the clubhouse.  For women, it is appropriate to leave on your hat walking through the clubhouse.  Cell phone use is generally prohibited at private country clubs, check with your host before arrival.
  3. Arrive early.  Make sure to arrive with plenty of time before your scheduled tee time.  This will allow proper warm up and give you time to orient yourself with the country club.  Agree with your host when and where you will meet prior to arrival.
  4. Pay any extras for you and your host when you can.  If the country club allows for tipping, make sure to tip the valet, the outside staff (those boys that help schlep your clubs and clean your clubs) and anyone that may assist you in the locker room.   If a caddy is taken, offer to pay the caddie fees.  Offer to purchase snacks at the beverage cart, lunch at the turn and any drinks after the round.  Some  country clubs don’t allow cash exchange, the membership account is the only option for payment; if this is the case, offer to reciprocate their generosity at another comparable local golf course.
  5. Maintain your pace of play.  Your host might not want to hurry you during the round.  Use common sense to know when is the right time to pick up your golf ball.  Do your best to play ready golf.  2 hours 15 minutes is the typical time allowance for 9 holes and 4 hours 30 minutes is the time allowance for 18 holes at most golf courses.
  6. Compliment your host, when appropriate.  Make sure to acknowledge good shots.  Compliment the golf course.  Ask advice.  Seem genuinely interested in their country club.  They are paying for your greens fees for the day/ tournament, use common sense and be on your best behavior.
  7. Reciprocate the generous offer.  You don’t have to be a country club member to show appreciation.  Invite them to play at another golf course in the area within the next year.
  8. Most importantly, make sure to graciously thank your host.  It takes their time and money to show you a nice time, the least you can do is send them a handwritten note.


Enjoy your round!

Tennis players change their grips; why shouldn’t golfers?

It’s Sunday, July 6th, an important day of the year for tennis. It’s the “Gentlemen’s Final” at Wimbledon. As I sat on our couch with my tennis loving husband, watching the final match, a message from the commentator resonated with me, “it’s a good time for Federer to strengthen his grip.” I thought to myself, I wish more golfers had that creativity.

Good tennis players change their grip to alter their shots. Surprise! Good golfers do the same thing. The grip is an integral part of face control. In either sport, having a weak grip directly relates to an open face with the racquet or club. Whereas, a strong grip helps achieve a closed club face.

To become the best golfer you can become, it would be good to understand each of these two grips. As a right handed golfer (sorry lefties), a weak grip is when your hands rotate counterclockwise so you see more knuckles on your right hand. A strong grip is when your hands rotate clockwise from a birds eye view so you can see more knuckles on your left hand. A weak grip helps the ball go right and a strong grip helps the ball go left.

If you are playing on the golf course and struggling with one side of the fairway or another, a slight grip adjustment could be what you need to get the ball back into play. Otherwise, grip adjustments are particularly important for trouble shots. An example would be in an impossibly deep bunker. A weak grip creates an open face and the club face in turn creates a high lofted, cut shot.

On the other hand, a closed club face helps achieve a low draw or hook. An example of when you would need this technique would be getting yourself around a tree. Have you ever wondered how to purposely create a hook? Strengthening your grip is the first step.

I challenge you to play around with grip changes the next time you’re at the range. If you want to be a better golfer, practice like one.


Looking for new golf clothing?

Look no further.  The online discount powerhouse, Rue La La, is having a sale.  For a limited time only, they have Adidas, Oakley, Puma, Page & Tuttle, and more.  From first glance, it looks like the prices are anywhere between $15-$45.  Not bad for golf clothing.  I personally spotted a long sleeve polo that I loved. The “Get Fit Spree” deal closes in 3 days.


Check it out:


Buying Golf Clubs from “Newbies” to Experienced Golfers

Very often I receive some form of communication asking my advice on purchasing his/her own set of golf clubs.  The concerns are: will the clubs fit me, how much will they cost, and where do I buy them.  These are my rules below:

1. Set your budget

Buying a Complete Set of Golf Clubs:

  • $200-$300 Brand new, not name brand, starter set of golf clubs
  • $500-$900 Brand new, name brand starter set of golf clubs
  • $300-$800 Used, name brand, set of irons

Buying Individual Golf Clubs:

  • $400- $1000 Name brand set of irons (SW- 5 iron)
  • $100-$300 Brand new, name brand putter
  • $200-$500 Brand new, name brand driver
  • $125- $300 Brand new, name brand hybrid
  • $150- $300 Brand new, name brand fairway wood
  • $150-$400 Brand new golf bag (either a stand bag or a carry bag)
  • $1000 > Custom set of brand new golf clubs

2. Ask your golf professional for his/her recommendation on length and shaft requirements.

  • There are 6 different “flexes” of shafts.  The more flexible the shaft, the easier it is to get the ball airborne.  The stiffer the shaft, the better for faster swing speeds.
  • In order of weak to strong shaft flex: – junior flex, -ladies flex, -men’s senior flex, -men’s regular flex, -men’s stiff flex, – men’s extra stiff flex

3. Do a little internet research to be an informed consumer

  • Brand Names- Callaway, Ping, Adams, Taylor Made, Cobra
  • Look into pricing

4. Browse your local golf shop

  • The local golf shops can be very competitive with internet pricing, be sure to check if you can get the set you are interested in locally before you pay for shipping.

5. Custom club fitters are specialized to fit golf clubs to your specifications

  • These people will generally spend 1-4 hours with you on a driving range assessing your lie angles, length, launch angles, shaft flex requirements, grip sizing and more.
  • The initial fitting is an additional cost
  • Custom golf clubs will last you years longer than purchasing “off the rack” because they are fit specifically for you and not built for the masses.
  • If you are serious about your golf game, a custom set of golf clubs will last you much longer than purchasing a standard set off the shelf.  Think about it- do all golfers swing the same?  So why should all golfers buy the same equipment?  It is important for your golf club to fit the way you swing, not for you to adjust to the golf club.

6. What extras do you really need?

  • A golf bag- I always suggest for my students to purchase a stand bag rather than a cart bag.  The difference is size and weight.  A stand bag generally has a double strap that makes it easy to carry your bag like a backpack, whereas a cart bag generally only has a shoulder strap.
  • Golf balls and tees- Make sure you have plenty for your first round of golf
  • Golf towel- some people enjoy having one towel for cleaning the clubs and another towel for cleaning their sweat.
  • Small emergency kit- I send my students to CVS or Walgreens for the $2.50 white small kit.  I would make sure to have plenty of bandaids, Neosporin, and white sports tape handy for those days you hit too many golf balls on the range.
  • Golf glove or two to help prevent blisters from forming.



  • Your local golf shop
  • Your local custom club fitter
  • Online




Some of my favorite products are listed on my ‘SHOP’ page here on, be sure to check out where to find my favorite products.


Happy Shopping!

What to expect on an International Golf Trip?

You’ve just signed up for an international golf trip, what to do next?


1. Trip Insurance. Over the last 6+ years of traveling abroad, I have encountered more than one experience where trip insurance became an integral part of the funds lost due to illness, injury, death.  Generally, the insurance company will reimburse you for any unused portion of the trip.  I’ve seen thousands of dollars back into the pocket after claiming the trip insurance policy.  Do your research to find the one that is suitable to your needs.  The company you purchase the organized trip will generally offer a policy.

2. Airfare. Most golf trips do not include airfare. Once you are fully signed up and the trip is deemed full, I’d look at airfare.  Be creative. Look at various companies and try using mileage. If I take a large group overseas, I’m generally the only one sitting in coach.  The rest of my group uses their mileage and loyalty to get upgraded.

3. Shopping. It’s time to purchase some necessary items.

  • Rain Gear. Depending on where you travel, it is inevitable that rain will be a part of your schedule. You’ve spent a lot of money on your trip, including those tee times, so plan to play in the rain.  In Ireland and Scotland, it’s half the fun.  Look for rain pants, a rain jacket, a rain hat, (2) pairs of rain gloves, and an umbrella. I’d also confirm your (2) pairs of golf shoes are waterproof.
  • Golf Balls. Are. Not. Cheap. in. Europe. A sleeve is three times the amount we pay in the United States. Depending on the length of your trip and the difficulty of course, I’d plan to bring at least a dozen.
  • GPS or Laser Rangefinder. It’s difficult to predict whether a course will have sufficient yardage markings.  Plus, outside the United States, you generally see the markings in Meters. By having a laser, you will be able to read to any point on any golf course- in yardage, particularly useful on a golf trip.  The various GPS devices are good, sometimes.  GPS devices only work on golf courses that have been mapped, so you may encounter some places where your GPS unit doesn’t work.
  • An extra battery for your rangefinder.  Those suckers are hard to find anywhere.  Most golf courses don’t carry the proper battery. Disclosure- Valderamma in Spain sold them in the proshop!
  • Comfortable Shoes.  I mentioned waterproof shoes above, but also make sure they are comfortable. You will be walking in Europe, most likely.  So be prepared with extra socks and comfortable shoes.



Your high school golfer wants to play college golf, so now what?


Your junior golfer plays great golf, but is it good enough to play in college?  This is a quick step by step guide to start thinking about the college golf recruiting process.


STEP 1- Choose Your Program

Research the different golf programs around the country to find a realistic fit.  See Resources (below) to find out the best resources for various team statistics.

STEP 2- Set Short Term and Long Term Goals

Determine future athletic and academic goals to be considered for your desired program. Make sure they are realistic and attainable.  Many college golf programs look for academically gifted students that would likely receive academic financial aid.

STEP 3- Build a Resume

It is never too early to start your collegiate golf resume and introduction letter.  The earlier you start, the easier it is to adjust.  As you continue to play in tournaments through High School continue updating your scoring average and your tournament scores.

STEP 4- Build a Competition Schedule

Playing local tournaments is a great start.  However, the National tournaments provide more exposure.  Each year there are prominent tournaments known for the college coach participation, make sure your junior registers for those tournaments.

STEP 5- Produce a Swing Video

  • Start with a 90 second introduction saying hello to your potential audience and introducing what the coach will be watching.  This is your first impression.  Dress appropriately, be sure to speak clearly and use a good microphone.
  • Shoot the golfer ‘down the line’ which means to the side of the golfer with the camera looking at the target.  Also shoot the golfer ‘face-on.’ Make sure you get the entire club and the golfer in the video.
  • Use a driver and mid-iron
  • Take a short video of the various short game shots.  (Chipping, pitching, sand play, and putting)
  • Finish the video with a brief conclusion.  Be sure to thank the coach for taking the time to watch your video.
  • Keep the video under 10 minutes
  • Try to film in calm conditions.  Wind makes audio very difficult.

STEP 6- Begin Communication with College Coaches

  • Choose your timing carefully.  (See Rules section for suggestions)
  • Follow up with an email and ask for a phone appointment
  • Send a follow up “Thank You” card
  • Continue the conversation
  • TIP- remember coaches are approached by many potential golfers, try not to be offended if he/she doesn’t respond quickly to your communication.


Resources for College Recruiting:

PING American College Golf Guide

  • The PING Guide contains vital information on golf programs at over 1,000 colleges and junior colleges, with answers to many of the questions facing college-bound students. Among the information listed in this online resource are the coaches’ names, addresses, phone numbers and tuition prices. There is a calendar and step-by-step procedure of what you should do from your freshman year through your senior year.  It also contains sample letters and recommendations on writing resumes. The Guide also gives complete scores of more than 92 college conference championships as well as scores of regional and national college golf championships.

NCAA Eligibility Center

  • At the beginning of his/her junior year, you should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, which is a minimum requirement to participate in Division I and II athletics.
  • Contact his or her high school guidance counselor or
  • Call the NCAA at (319) 337-1492 or (877) 262-1492 or
  • Visit and for further information.
  • For questions or more information on NCAA Rules and Recruiting Information, please call (317) 917-6222.

Access to GOLFSTAT

  • For junior golfers interested in playing at the collegiate level, GOLFSTAT’s Prep Report is the most valuable resource currently available. This report provides each university’s rating by division; tournaments and rounds played; representation in Regionals and/or Nationals by individual or team; rounds played, scoring average, year in school for the roster and five most utilized players. GOLFSTAT is a great tool to use in determining which school is the best fit for every player.

My Favorite Website for tips through the process:



Rules of Recruiting (Borrowed from the AJGA website)

The following tips about the Division I recruiting process can be found on the NCAA’s website,

When you start ninth-grade classes, you become a “prospective student-athlete.”

You become a “recruited prospective student-athlete” at a particular college if any coach or representative of the college’s athletics interests (booster or representative) contacts you (or any member of your family) about enrolling and participating in athletics at that college. Activities by coaches or boosters that cause you to become a recruited prospective student-athlete are:

Providing you with an official visit;
Placing more than one telephone call to you or any other member of your family; or
Visiting you or any other member of your family anywhere other than the college campus.
No alumni, boosters or representatives of a college’s athletics interests can be involved in your recruiting.

You (or your family) may not receive any benefit, inducement or arrangement such as cash, clothing, cars, improper expenses, transportation, gifts or loans to encourage you to sign a National Letter of Intent or attend an NCAA college.

Letters from coaches, faculty members and students are not allowed until September 1 at the beginning of your junior year of high school.

Telephone Calls

Phone calls from faculty members and coaches are not permitted until July 1 after the completion of your junior year. After this, a college coach or faculty member may call you (or your parents/legal guardians) once a week.

You (or your parents) may call a coach at your expense at any time. Coaches may also accept collect calls from you and may use a toll-free number to receive telephone calls from you on or after July 1 after completion of your junior year.


A college coach may contact you in person off the college campus no more than three times on or after July 1 of your junior year. Any face-to-face meeting between a college coach and you or your parents, during which any of you say more than “hello” is a contact. Also, any face-to-face meeting that is prearranged or that occurs at your high school, competition or practice site is a contact, regardless of the conversation.


An evaluation is any off-campus activity used to assess your academic qualifications or athletics ability, including a visit to your high school (during which no contact occurs) or watching you practice or compete at any site. Institutions have seven permissible recruiting opportunities (contacts and evaluations) during the academic year, and not more than three of the seven opportunities may be in-person, off-campus contacts.

Once you sign a National Letter of Intent, you may be evaluated an unlimited number of times by the college with which you have signed.

Official Visits

During your senior year, you can have one expense-paid (official) visit per college. You may receive no more than five such visits. You cannot have an official visit unless you have provided the college your high school academic transcript and a score from a PSAT, an SAT, a PLAN or an ACT taken on a national test date under national testing conditions.

National Letter of Intent

A National Letter of Intent is an agreement signed by the prospective student-athlete, parent or legal guardian and the athletic director. The agreement states that the institution agrees to provide the prospective student-athlete, who is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules, athletic aid for one academic year in exchange for the prospect’s agreement to attend the institution for one academic year.

Also, other institutions agree not to recruit a prospective student-athlete once he/she signs a NLI. The prospective student-athlete will no longer receive recruiting calls and is ensured an athletic scholarship for one academic year once the NLI is signed.

NCAA Contact Information
For more information on National Letters of Intent, please contact:

Phone: (205) 458-3000
Fax: (205) 458-3031

To receive NCAA Eligibility Center registration materials from NCAA, call:
(877) 262-1492.

For other NCAA recruiting questions, call the NCAA:
(317) 917-6222.

Are you drinking enough water?

Water helps regulate and maintain your body temperature, it helps transport nutrients and oxygen, removes waste products, and moistens your mouth, eyes, nose, hair, skin, joints and digestive tract.  Each day fluid losses occur continuously from sweating, breathing, urine, and stool.  These fluid losses must be replaced to remain in good health.  When your water intake does not equal your output, you can become dehydrated.  Water depletion is accentuated in warmer climates, higher altitudes and during strenuous exercise.


From Web MD here are the six reasons to make sure you’re drinking enough water:

1. Drinking water helps maintain the balance of body fluids

  • Your body is composed of 60% water. When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers your body’s thirst mechanism.  Alcohol interferes with the brain and kidney communication to cause excess exertion of fluids which can lead to dehydration. 
  • Water is used to maintain blood volume which is imperative for regulating body temperature and delivering oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body.

2. Water can help control calories

  • Hydration helps with satiety- feeling full. 

3. Water helps energize muscles

  • When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer. The American College of Sports Medicine recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. 

4. Water helps keep skin looking good

  • Your skin contains plenty of water and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss.  Dehydration makes your skin look dry and wrinkled. 

5. Water helps your kidneys

  • If you chronically drink too little water, you are at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warmer climates.

6. Water helps maintain normal bowel function

  • Adequate fluid and fiber keep things flowing along your GI tract to prevent constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration- resulting in constipation. 


To determine how much water you should be getting each day:

  • Divide your weight by 2. (160 pounds/2 = 80)  80 is the amount in ounces a 160 lb. person should get each day
  • Divide the amount in ounces by 8 (ounces in one cup) (80/10 = 8) 8 cups of water each day


Daily water intake calculator:


Water intake during activity in different climates:


Let’s make June hydration month.  Go!

Westin Punta Cana and Cap Cana Golf Trip

In February, I brought 4 couples on a 5 day stay at the Westin Puntacana in the Dominican Republic. I worked to arrange the trip with the group department for a golf package. We were originally supposed to stay at Tortuga Bay (Oscar de la Renta’s boutique hotel that is a leading hotel of the world), but there was a mix up in our reservation and we had no choice but to stay at the Westin. Needless to say, I had very low expectations going into the trip with the original confusion in hotel. After my 5 day stay, I can’t wait to go back.

I review all properties before I stay and I have to admit, I was a little nervous with some of the bad reviews.

#1- if you are an experienced traveler going to the Caribbean, you know that service is going to be slow. (Bring a book and take a deep breath.)

#2- the staff is excellent. I am always shocked, arriving to Spanish speaking tourist friendly destinations, with the amount of English widely spoken. We have far less English spoken in Miami, Florida.  Many people reviewed the service was bad.  However, I was shocked with how rude some guests were with the staff.  Speaking slow and loudly doesn’t generally get your point across any better.  Again, I was impressed with the English spoken by the help.

#3- I had a room on the 4th floor and my wifi was variable, but mostly worked whenever I needed it. Guests complained about the wi-fi on some of the reviews.


Upon arrival to PUJ, they greeted us with the VIP airport service. This is a must! They whiz you through security and customs to be on your way quickly. We were able to play 9 holes after arriving with enough daylight to spare. Check-in, was a little slow, but again you’re in the Caribbean what do you expect.


The rooms were amazing. There is a defined entry way where it is convenient to keep golf club travel bags. To the left of the entry is a closet that I would like to re-create in my home. I believe it was built to make travelers feel so comfortable they wouldn’t want to go home. They even thought of the small details- such as a full length mirror in the closet and the safe, actually built into the wooden closet. (This always makes me feel comfortable with leaving my valuables locked up.) On the other side of the entry way is the large bedroom and bathroom. My two favorite parts of a Westin- the heavenly bed and the blackout shades!



As for the food, we had a Golf Package that included unlimited food and drink anywhere on property and boy was it worth it. Our group had a wonderful time. We ate and drank until we were blue in the face. The Brassa Grill had a fanstastic dinner arranged for our reservation. They gave us the option of family style, which would give us multiple appetizers and main entrees to try. It turned out to be fantastic. Playa Blanca was a nice dinner option, but opt to walk rather than take the shuttle- it is only 5 minutes, but bring your phone flashlight to watch for the ropes on the beach. Our favorite lunch was at the La Cana clubhouse, sitting next to the pool and overlooking the beach. My favorite was the shrimp egg rolls. The last night of our trip we went to Bamboo, the restaurant at Tortuga Bay. It is a romantic, gourmet option.


The golf is spectacular in Punta Cana. Corales might be in the best shape of any course I’ve ever played. (Disclosure- I’m a golf professional) And Punta Espada is breath taking. My only issue with golf in Punta Cana- I’m too intrigued to take pictures that I sometimes forget to take time with my golf shots.

If you’ve never been to the Dominican Republic for golf- I would highly suggest staying at the Westin or Tortuga Bay and playing Corales, La Cana and going to Cap Cana for Punta Espada. What a trip! Can’t wait to return! Thank you exceeding all of our expectations.