It's that time of year again, when stockings are hung, trees are decorated and my phone and email are filled up with the unmistakable atmosphere of the holidays: Panic.
Yes, I am experiencing the annual deluge of friends and family wanting to buy golf gifts....for someone else. Oh sure, it'd be great to get an occasional "Hey John, what would YOU like for Christmas?".... but that's unlikely when my friends list is filled with Dr. Seuss characters (you know, heart two sizes too small). But I digress.
Now there are all kinds of "Holiday Gift Guides" out right now, heck PGA.com has two great ones (here and here.) But this one does not have the glitz of the picture perfect PR release. No fancy photos, no polished wordsmithing, no "hilarious gag gifts", etc. Just things I know golfers will love. It's not perfect, (there are two items not available yet (January) and one that is technically sold out) but it really does capture the essence of the ultimate gifts for golfers. So without further ado...
10.) Personalized golf balls: Your name on your golf bag means you're a player. That's not always a good thing. (Expectations can be burden at times.) But on your golf ball, it's always fun. It's the ultimate way to mark your ball, it announces how much you love golf and it's a pretty nice keepsake for you or anyone close to you. And besides, EVERY golfer needs more golf balls. Nike is offering its awesome 20XI golf balls with FREE personalization through the holidays. (Just do it! Do they still have that campaign?)
9.) Real X Gear cooling accessories: Not top of mind here in winter, but I saw these products while out in Vegas in August. In case you didn't know, Las Vegas in August is HOT. But the towels from Real X Gear keep you cool. Just wet them and they stay downright cold for six to eight hours. That's awesome. This summer, when it's three digits outside and you can't read that putt because of the sweat dripping into your eyes, you'll wish you had one of these. (I already got mine!)
8.) Arnie Wear by Quagmire Golf: This is one of the two items that aren't available yet - but will be soon. I bet your favorite golfer would be happy with a gift certificate or promise to purchase. Why? Because it's that cool. Based on the clothes that The King, Arnold Palmer, wore in the 50s, 60s and 70s, the folks at Quagmire Golf literally went through his closets for styles and inspirations. It's unique and fashionable and very golf friendly. And you can never go wrong copying Arnie.
7.) Be a Tour caddie at Caddy For A Cure: If the name seems familiar, there's a reason. I featured them last year. And I'll feature them next year too. On the charity side, the work that they do for a large number of charities is awesome. Amazing. But from a golf perspective, you can bid to actually caddy for some of the biggest names in sports at a PGA Tour practice round or pro-am! How tremendous is that? Ask Dave Bowen, who won an auction last year, caddied for an NFL quarterback at a PGA Tour pro-am. His name: Tim Tebow. Also in the group. A golfer who also knows a thing or two about winning. His name: Jack Nicklaus. Among others that take part in this great charity are world No. 1 Luke Donald, Bubba Watson, Stewart Cink and Adam Scott. Yeah, beat that Santa.
6.) Golf Gloves: Can't tell you how many times I've arrived on the first tee and decided I need a new glove, either because my old one is ripped, worn or just missing. Then I'm stuck using someone else's mis-sized, balled-up worn glove that may or may not serve its purpose. A few gloves in a stocking will always be a welcome site for golfers. (Hint, get a size and know that right handers typically wear gloves on left hand and vice versa.) Lots of options obviously, but you can never go wrong with Titleist-Footjoy.)
5.) Nike Golf's Dri-Fit pants: In some ways, this recommendation could be No. 1. Yes, I said No. 1. Of all the "golf things" I have, my Nike pants are possibly my favorite. I wear them everywhere; golf course, work, out to eat, etc. They do everything they say in wicking away moisture, are so comfortable and they look good. There are undoubtedly other golf pants out there that are similar, I'm not saying Nike has a monopoly on great pants. But this is what I wear and what I'll recommend. (Side note. These are everything I want in pants except...warm in winter. So yeah, think of them as best for three seasons.)
4.) Iliac Golf Wear: I have this on my list for no other reason than I bought a pullover earlier this year from a golf shop and everywhere I go while wearing it, people compliment me on it. Really. It's a bit pricey but it also stands out in a sea of homogeny.
3.) Rangefinders: Rangefinders, GPS units, etc. are becoming more and more a part of the standard requirement in a golf bag. Truth is, I don't own one, but I do want one. So does any golfer you know that doesn't have one. Most all of them are good, even great. I'm going to recommend Bushnell because of their support for my friends at Folds of Honor.
2.) Ryder Cup tickets: Yes, I work for the PGA of America and this gift option might look biased since it's a PGA event. So let me be very clear on this: Best - Gift - Ever. Period. Seriously, based on all the sporting events I've been to (and that includes a Super Bowl, a World Series, and the Olympics among others) - nothing compares to the intensity and excitement of a Ryder Cup. Nothing. Combine the passion of SEC college football fans and the drama of the Final Four and the spectacle of the Kentucky Derby - and you'll get the Ryder Cup. Professional golfers don't cry when they win/lose majors. They do at the Ryder Cup. And these come to the United States only once every four years. So in 2012, just outside of Chicago, some lucky golf fans will have a chance to watch the greatest spectacle in sports. If you were in Valhalla in 2008 or Celtic Manor in 2010, you know I'm right. (Tickets are officially sold out already. But packages that include tickets (or even brokers, etc) are options if you really want to go.)
1.) Cleveland Classic Driver: Many people who read this will have no idea what a 'persimmon driver' means, much less looks like. (Hint: golf has not always had titanium.) Cleveland Golf has taken all the elements of today's latest equipment technology and combined it with the retro look of the awesome 1970s-era drivers. The end result is one of the coolest things I've seen in golf in a long time. Even more, and more importantly, the club performs. If you are under 35, you'll love this driver because it's a great driver. If you are older than 35, you'll love this driver even more. The club is actually not available for purchase yet, will be at the beginning of 2012. So print the picture or create a gift certificate. But it's a sure fire winner for this year's holidays.