Despite what the songs on the radio, the decorations in the stores or the nip in the air may say, the holiday shopping season truly begins after Thanksgiving. Well, it's after Thanksgiving now and the joy (?) of shopping for the perfect gift is now the part of our collective tasks. But your favorite golfer (and that might be you!) already has a new driver, loves their trusty putter and maybe they're not quite ready to get that new set of irons just yet. Is there a great golf gift still out there? You bet there is.
One of the great things about working in the golf industry is getting a sneak preview at some of the latest and greatest offerings from the brilliant minds in the business. This past year saw innovations and improvements that every golfer should be aware of, though many have not had a chance to make a part of their game -- yet.
2010 HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDES
Check out our gift guides and special features to find the exactly the right present for the most special golfers in your life!
PGA.com will unveil a series of Holiday Shopping Guides through the remainder of the year. Most will be written by top PGA Professionals, what they recommend to their members, visitors and students. But this week's feature is my own, based on the question I am asked the most -- even from those already in the industry. "Is there anything out there that I don't have that I should?" There's actually quite a few new items that would make even the most experienced golfers offer fist pumps of joy. Here's my Great Eight list for the best of Holiday Shopping 2010.
1.) TRUE linkswear shoes. Imagine playing golf in your most comfortable slippers. But these slippers are stylish, offer great traction and feel so light on your feet, you have to remind yourself you're wearing shoes from time to time. And don't just take my word for it, listen to PGA Tour star Ryan Moore. "These are the lightest, most comfortable golf shoes I have ever worn," he says. Moore was so impressed, he's become a major investor in the company. The shoes have just now hit the market and media and social media have been all abuzz about them. The company's biggest issue could be keeping up with demand. TRUE linkswear is available at many retail shops such as PGA Tour Superstores or online at their website: http://www.truelinkswear.com.
2.) VedaloHD sunglasses: Every golfer loves a great pair of sunglasses, and there are a ton of great sunglasses out there. But rarely have I seen a pair that makes even the most cynical golfers do a double-take after trying on a pair and then taking them off. The high-definition lens from VedaloHD does just that, everytime. "Without a doubt, the best I've ever worn" said a certain caddie on the PGA Tour. Not sure if that impresses you, but considering that caddie is Stevie Williams, who could probably wear anything he wanted, that says quite a bit I'd say. You can order them at: http://www.vedalohd.com/.
3.) The Last Bag from Club Glove. I find it amazing how people will spend thousands on their clubs and then trust a glorified garbage sack to transport them from city to city. The PGA Tour players need to protect their instruments of their trade above all else and more of them trust Club Glove's Last Bag than any other travel bag. There's a reason. These can be found at most retail golf shops, ordered through most PGA Professionals or via their website at: http://clubglove.com/home.htm.
4.) Stiff Arm from Club Glove. Going to give Club Glove a little extra love in this list (hey, I don't even have an endorsement deal!) but their Stiff Arm is a 'must have' for your travel bag, regardless of what type you use. It's a metal rod with a concave plate at the top that will absorb most of the pressure that your clubs may endure when in their travel cases. For $26.95, it could be the best investment you could ever make in your clubs. Order at: http://clubglove.com/User/ViewProduct.asp?ProductID=18.
5.) Wine from Annika. LPGA Tour icon Annika Sorenstam has joined the growing number of golf personalities who have come out with their own line of wine. But considering Annika's well-known passion for fine cuisine and her penchant for excellence, it doesn't seem to be much of a stretch to believe her signature wine collection would be top notch. Early reviews have been favorable. The one caveat is that you should wait until after your round of golf before partaking. It's never good to drink and drive. (What?, you don't like bad puns?) More importantly, Annika wines can be purchased through her website: https://shop.annikavineyards.com/.
6.) Tiger Woods 2011 from EA Sports. At some point, these games are going to get too good. I mean, how long until you get a virtual burger from The Tap Room after your round at Pebble Beach? If your golfer also has a penchant for video games, this one is a 'must have.' The inclusion of the Ryder Cup means you can recreate the most dramatic golf event of the year, right in your living room. Without going into every detail, suffice it to say that if you love golf, and you can work your way around a Wii or Xbox or Playstation, you need this game: http://tigerwoodspgatour.easports.com/home.action.
7.) The Littlest Golfer apparel. The youngest golfers among us need proper apparel too. Not that they have to adhere to every dress code or norm, but they certainly need to be comfortable and protected from the elements as much, if not more, than their adult counterparts. One of the best companies around for children's golf wear can be found at: http://www.thelittlestgolfer.com/.
8.) Golf Lessons from your local PGA Professional. Do I write this because I work for PGA.com? No. Do I write this because I want you to spend money with PGA Professionals that I know? Not really. Do I write this because I've run out of things to include? Absolutely not. And though golf lessons are not new to 2010, they are still the best gift you can get for your favorite golfer (yourself include). The one guaranteed item that will make every golfer enjoy golf more is to play better -- and the only sure way to do that is to learn under the guidance of an expert instructor. I'd guess I've recommended lessons to over 100 people over the last few years. I've had zero tell me they wish they'd have purchased something else. Now I'm not math whiz, but that sounds like a pretty good percentage to me. Find a PGA instructor near you here: http://www.pga.com/golf-instruction/find-instructor.
These are the eight items I'll be recommending this year. I'd love to hear your thoughts on any other items you think golfers would enjoy this holiday season. Enter your thoughts below and share your expertise with golfers around the world as to what will make their holidays full of good cheer.