Getting over those pesky nerves on the golf course
That's a great question. Everyone deals with nerves in different ways, the key is finding something that works for you. Me, I find a few deep breaths just before taking my club away into the backswing helps me every time! Other people like to visualize a calm place where they feel at home. Remember, the goal is to "advance the ball forward" - don't put so much pressure on yourself and you will find you will do much better!
How do you tell a playing partner that it bothers you when they drive ahead of you before you take your shot?
This is a tricky one. While there is nothing wrong with mentioning to the person in your foursome that proceeding ahead of your shot is not proper etiquette, it can get a bit touchy - especially if you play with that person regularly. My advice? The next time one of your partners steps up to hit a shot, start to proceed down the fairway, stop yourself and then say loud enough for your entire group to hear, "Oops, guess I should wait for so-and-so to hit before heading ahead." Hopefully the repeat offender in your group will hear this and clue in.
What is the proper etiquette for allowing another group to play through?
The first option when you are feeling pressured to let a group through is to pick up the pace. There is no shame in picking up your ball if you are a new golfer. If you have tried that and the group is still waiting behind you, there are a couple of ways to let a group through on the golf course. If they are right on your tail, you can wait on the next tee and allow them to play first while staying off to the side. The other option is to wave them through after you have hit and reached your first shot. Clear the fairway and be sure to watch where their golf balls go as I know from personal experience -- getting hit with a golf ball does not feel good!
When I hit the ball, it goes off the toe of the club and right off the fairway. What am I doing wrong?
There are quite a few reasons the ball connects with the toe of the club. Without actually seeing the golf swing, it is very difficult to diagnose. I would recommend making slow, half swings and holding the club a little further down while you focus on connecting with the centre of the club face. If that does not give you an idea of what you are doing, there's always a golf pro around willing to help!
Is it best for a woman to learn from a female instructor?
I would not say it's any different for a female golfer to learn from a female instructor at all. In my experience, some women are just more comfortable with a female instructor and vice versa. A female instructor may be a little easier to relate to and some women feel less embarrassed with another female. As long as your instructor has good information and there is a good rapport, male or female shouldn't matter.