A hardcore golf trip usually means stepping onto the first tee shortly after touching down, but arriving at Ballybunion nursing a hangover and a back stiffer than a vintage 1-iron can quickly turn that dream trip into a costly waste of time before you even change your shoes. Golf Magazine fitness expert Paul Hospenthal offers some tips on how to survive the not-so-friendly skies.
It's tempting to open a beer on a flight, but alcohol and caffeine dehydrate you. Drink a four-ounce glass of water every 30 minutes. Take small sips: If you gulp you might pass the flight in the tiniest room on the plane.
Get in the zone
To minimize jet lag, adjust your sleep pattern by a couple of hours in the two or three days before your flight. On the plane, set your watch for the new time zone and either snooze or stay awake to get into the new rhythm.
Cramped seats cause tightness and rounded shoulders. Side bends and leg stretches every hour will help. When you reach the course, stretch fully and twist at the waist while holding a club behind your neck.
Shake off that sluggish feeling and get your blood flowing with a brisk, 15-minute walk around the terminal after you deplane. By the time you get to baggage claim your clubs will be waiting and ready to go.
Ask travelin' Joe He's been where you're going
I'm visiting relatives in Dallas and there's a great private course I'd like to play while there. Is it OK to pretend I might be moving to town and am interested in a membership?
Larry Brock, memphis, Tenn.
If it's an established old club then your membership interest likely will be as welcome as a Redskins fan at Texas Stadium. A new club will welcome you with open arms. Either way, casual deception is a waste of time. Try it the old-fashioned way: Send a polite letter.
My buddy accused me of being cheap for not tipping the starter at a resort. Am I really expected to grease the starter's palm?
Dave Duncan, Portland, Ore.
Starters are like politicians: Pass them cash only when you need preferential treatment. Save your singles for cart girls.
With the dollar so weak in Europe, will my greenbacks still go a long way?
Eddie Yakalis, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mexico's bargains are evaporating like the ozone layer, so try Cost Rica's limited but strong offerings. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, nearly every top course--like the Alister MacKenzie--designed Jockey Club--is accessible and affordable at $65 or less.
Joe Passov has played more than 1,100 courses in 21 countries. If you need travel directions, zip him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org