Golf Digest

Golf is not a casual game. The equipment costs alone would discourage brief encounters, never mind the time it takes to master the fine points. When I was growing up, the sport resembled an arrogant preppy: clean-cut but overly Gentile. The traditional attire, the colors alone, looked goofy and slightly pimp-like. That is, until the '90s, when golf got a younger, multi-culti makeover; in short, thanks to Tiger Woods, it got game.

He was soon joined by an array of slim, good-looking colleagues, like Ulsterman Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros, the 26-year-old hotshot dubbed "the Spanish stallion" by Golf Digest. If you want to know how to play like a winner, pick up a subscription.

The monthly is geared to serious players and sports a strong template: well-organized, concisely written sections that feature solid information from pros -- players and coaches alike -- as well as profiles, tour information and fashion tips. It's like Popular Mechanics for golfers; no detail is ignored.

Three main sections -- "How to," "Equipment" and "Lesson Tee" -- cover all the knowledge you'll need, and that knowledge is extensive. Golf takes skill, practice and a Zen-like concentration. A doctor friend tried to get me interested, but I discovered I had neither the patience nor the innate ability to drive with élan. Apparently, smacking a tiny ball down a fairway is harder than it looks on TV. Also, it took a week for my hip to slot back into place.

Perhaps I should have consulted GD's "Swing Sequence," where readers get second-by-second photos, Muybridge style, that, in the current issue, dissect McIlroy's swing. The most striking aspect of the young man from Northern Ireland, who is ranked among the world's top 20 players, is the "rhythm of his swing and the ease with which he hits the ball." I'll also add that he's a mere 20, which means we'll be admiring his club work for decades and his retirement fund will one day rival Warren Buffett's.

In addition, this user-friendly pub supplies tips to fix your slice, avoid pushes and hit a soft lob to get out of the sand and onto the green. Pointers on the latter come courtesy of Annika Sorenstam, who runs the Annika Academy at Ginn Reunion Resort near Orlando. There's even a Dear Abby column, dubbed "Local Knowledge," by Stina Sternberg. This month, she reminds men to stay in the cart when women tee off. It's not chivalrous to get up; it's added pressure. Also, spouses should not instruct each other. Most have the same reaction as North Korea's Kim Jong-il when the U.S. suggests he abandon his nuclear program.

Golfers never stop learning, which is why Golf Digest, unlike Golf World or Golf, is the better buy, per said doctor friend. He's golfed at some of the best resorts in the U.S. and devours golf mags with the same passion I have for theater. If he says it's "the best" for teaching purposes, it's the best. I trust him with my health -- so why not golf?

Later, when you head to the club after a long day on the links, check out some of the pub's advertisers, like Appleton Rum or Nature Valley granola bars, though preferably not together. Later, some of the 55+ players will probably quietly avail themselves of AndroGel or Cialis. Even if you're an older golfer, you're still young at heart. It don't mean a thing, if you ain't got that swing.


Published by: Condé Nast

Frequency: Monthly

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