So. When your older brother is a PGA golf instructor and single-digit handicapper, the advice he offers on anything to do with golf carries a lot of weight. When I finally took up the game (after years of urging), he patiently sat in the cart, closeby, barking set-up instructions: “Grip!” “Feet!” “Target!” “Head Down!” You know the drill. But the best advice EVER was about playing with men…

He gave me strategies for dealing with the initial eye-roll at the first tee; that heave and sigh when you pull up to complete the foursome.

Because I started playing golf with my brothers, three in all, two of whom are single-digit players, I was used to playing with men who played well and were anxious to have me join them. In fact, I’ve found over the years, that the better (and more confident) the men players are, the more welcoming they are. It’s the insecure ones that feel threatened. You know.

My brothers taught me the importance of ready play, especially as a newbie to the game back then, and the option to pick up my ball and drop it forward to keep up pace-of-play. This was great, because it allowed me to get out on the golf course and play in real conditions, and took the pressure off as I got familiar with my clubs, distances, lofts, etc. The driving range is good for grooving your tempo, but beyond that, give me grass and slopes and sand. No other way to learn the game.

So, about those guys in Pinehurst. We ended up having a fabulous day on the course after the choreographed antics at the first hole and had a lot of laughs at the 19th afterward.

Hole 1: I did see the sighs and eye rolls when I pulled up. I stood to the side of the tee box, as instructed by my brother, leaning on my driver, focusing on the first guy up. Predictably, he puffed out his chest, did a little waggle (OMG…) and did his best imitation of Tiger, lag and all. Whack. Shank. Next guy pulled his shot. Last one actually hit the fairway.

I pulled up to the forward tees, and since I already had my driver in hand, just grabbed a tee and ball. Two practice swings and I smacked it 185 up the middle. It wasn’t wildly long, but it was true and the best part was the look on the boys’ faces.  I was on in regulation and 3 putted. Decent bogey for me. One guy parred (the one who hit the fairway) and the other two doubled. No more eye rolling after that. Lots of banter. A bunch of laughs. A relaxed round.

Moral of the story? You paid for your round. Enjoy it. All you have to do to play anywhere, anytime, with ANYONE, is keep up pace of play.Annie Jaroszewicz Equipt for play founder and designer