Kevin Markham looks at a broad range of potential Christmas gifts for golfers...
The Christmas Golf Gift conundrum is upon us once again. If you’re like me, you go in a cycle of gifts for the family golfer in your life. My dad gets wine one year, some clothing the next and then a golf gift of some description. It’s a three- year cycle. True, he doesn’t usually wear the novelty Santa jumper or drink the Blue Nun, but the golf gifts go down a treat. Here’s a round up of some of the golf gifts which will be popular this Christmas.
Hard to believe but you can get your hands on Ryder Cup 2018 gear already. Yes, still nine months away but some golfers go mad for these things. Golf caps start at €25 on the website (www.euroshop.rydercup.com), with outerwear jackets, rainsuits, the bizarre snood (€30), polos, golf shirts in multiple styles and colours, padded vests for that Michelin Man look, and Peter Millar cashmere tops (€313). You can even buy golf shoes. Perhaps avoid the Peter Millar Chilla Printed Camouflage Stretch Mesh Polo shirt (€89), unless you’re planning to go stalking big game in a seaweed-infested lagoon… who needs camouflage on a golf course?!
There are heaps of accessories, too, with golf balls, gloves, head and putter covers, and umbrellas the easy fallback options. You can buy a branded Bushnell Rangefinder (€345), 10 different types of luggage and Bolle sunglasses, too.
Druh Belts are a popular choice among golfers with a variety of styles, including the belt buckle itself. You can pick up an Ireland Flag Buckle for £35 (€39.70). You can throw in the belt, too (prices start at £57.50 (€65), or buy a limited edition Ryder Cup belt and buckle for £60 (€68). www.druhbeltsuk.co.uk
If your golfer is keen to look after his or her health but also needs to get an energy boost on the course, there are several Irish companies producing protein bars, snacks and the like. Wyldsson is one such company and they have launched a Choc Lovers Selection Box for Christmas. For €9.99 plus post and packing, you’ll receive four of the company’s best sellers: Hazelnut & Cocoa Nut Butter 500g Strawberry & Chocolate ProMix snack 46g Hazelnut & Cocoa ProMix snack 46g Guilt Free Hot Chocolate mix 45g.
Wyldsson is well known for its ProMix Snack tubes — golfers Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne have been seen with them — so if chocolate doesn’t float your golfer’s boat, buy them the Sample Pack for €19.99. It includes 10 tubes of different varieties. See wyldsson .com
Last orders: Monday Dec 18.
CarveOn is an Irish company, based in Co. Kildare, making leather goods which they engrave with the name of your choice, and/or a club logo. Choose from a scorecard holder (€59.99), yardage book cover (€64.99), and a golf bag tag (€33). There’s also a special golf gift set of the scorecard holder and bag tag in a presentation box (€99). It’s the ultimate personalised gift this Christmas.
They also do notebooks, wallets, and a variety of bags so this will appeal to non-golfers, too. All products are made from premium Italian leather and are made in Ireland.
Last orders (for personalisation): Wednesday, December 20.
Yes, there’s an Irish golf ball designer right here, in Co Carlow, and the balls are receiving rave reviews. Not enough people know that but, as Seed Golf only started in July 2017, it’s not that surprising. What is a bit surprising is the three different ways you can ‘gift’ the company’s three types of golf ball. You can buy a once off bulk purchase, you can buy the special gift package of three dozen balls (€59.95) or you can take advantage of the novel subscription option which ensures golf balls are sent to your golfer every month, or every six months or once a year… it all depends on how many balls they lose a round! So send a dozen, send two. The prices are extremely low for such a high quality product. You don’t need brand names and multi-million endorsements to produce golf balls. You just need smart people who know the technology inside and out. Balls cost between €10 and €25 a dozen. Visit www.seedgolf.com
Last orders: week before Christmas.
Magazines and Catalogues
Always a crowd pleaser, an annual subscription is one of the easiest ways to go. The Irish Golfer Magazine started in 2016, and is going from strength to strength, focusing as it does on all things golf. www.irishgolfer.ie You can buy a 12-month subscription, with all 10 editions delivered to your golfer’s door for just €40. The subscription comes with a dozen Srixon golf balls (worth €30). There are a couple of interesting international alternatives which signal a shift in how golf magazines are consumed.
First up is The Golfer’s Journal, published quarterly. It’s a smart, erudite publication with considerable depth and a unique personality spread over 124 pages of editorial content. It was first published in 2017, and an annual subscription costs US $75 (approx. €64). www.golfersjournal.com
Catalogue 18 looks at the beauty of golf and golf courses through bold, professional and striking imagery. Many of the world’s best golf course photographers contribute to what will be a 300-page large format (32cm x 23cm) biannual publication of beautiful photographs and illustrations. The first edition is due in Spring 2018 and will feature Pinehurst No. 2, Cabot Cliffs, The Loop, Doonbeg, Nordic Europe, Adelaide, the Coachella Valley, and many more. Pitched as golf’s first coffee-table biannual, check it out at www.catalogue18.com Price $59.99 (approx. €50).
Golf Books, Calendars and Prints
The Secret of Golf: The Story of Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus , was published in 2016. Written by Joe Posnanski, it details the friendship and rivalry that existed between two of golf’s greatest players.
Following the passing of Arnold Palmer, last year, a commemorative hardback book, entitled A Life Well Played: My Stories, was issued in September 2017. It provides an insight into Palmer’s life, both on and away from the golf course, and includes amusing stories as well as some insightful tips on playing the game.
A couple of golf’s top photographers bring out a calendar every year with images of golf courses taken around the world. Look up Evan Schiller (www.golfshots.com/store) and Larry Lambrecht (www.golfstock.net).
Alternatively, try that old favourite of ‘The Tip of the Day’ Calendar.
Plenty of golf photographers also have websites selling prints of famous courses. Look them up, see what you find.
You can’t beat a lucky dip style present where you open a box with no idea what goodies are inside. That’s exactly what Irish company BackSpinBox started doing this year… so even if the golfer knows what it is they have no idea what’s inside. It’s a clever and fun idea and each monthly box contains the three core items of glove/hat, tees and premium golf balls, as well as three to five mystery items from a wide range of brands. It means golfers discover and test different products every month. Cost €39 for one box, but three, six and yearly subscriptions are also available.
Last orders: Wednesday 13 December.
items from a wide range of brands.
Royal Portrush is rightly regarded as one of the world’s greatest courses and, following the introduction of two new holes ahead of the 2019 Open Championship, there’s no better time to sample this remarkable Harry Colt classic. A gift of green fees will be welcomed by any passionate golfer. During peak season the fees are £205 (€230) but, in April, they’re reduced to £120 (€136). If you want to upgrade to something extra special, book a round at Portstewart, too, and contact the five star Blackrock House B&B, run by Nicola Neill. Blackrock House is the first five star B&B in the area and as well as a wonderful welcome visitors will enjoy a very golf-friendly stay. The B&B is on the outskirts of Portrush and close to the town’s restaurants. The breakfast is fabulous. www.royalportrushgolfclub.com www.blackrockbandbportrush.com
This Irish company, based in Co Clare and run by Les and Sandra Egan, created SetupEye to help golfers who struggle with their alignment. If that sounds familiar with the golfer in your life, this may be the perfect gift. This is a small device (about the size of a tennis ball) that helps the golfer set up to the ball, secure in the knowledge that they are aiming at the exact point they want. The company boasts that SetupEye addresses 95% of golfers swing flaws, with the simple press of a button. This is all done through a scope, which helps lock-on to the target, and a series of lasers which provide the exact alignment.
The SetupEye is such a new innovation that it will only be available early next year, just in time for the main golf season. The cost will be approximately €295. Visit: Setupeye.com
PuttOut It is all too easy to over-complicate things with golf training aids… fancy technology, gizmos you wear, smartphone apps… but not with the PuttOut device. This is a simple but very clever way for a golfer to improve his or her putting, particularly the pace of the putt and that all-important ‘pressure’ putt. What’s more, it can be taken and used anywhere. Essentially, it’s a plastic and rubber ramp which indicates how well a golfer has weighted their putt. So simple… and so clever. The cost is €25 + €3 P&P, from www.colegolf.ie
GPS devices are all the rage these days, informing golfers of exact distances. But now there’s one that not only shows these measurements on a display (a bit larger than a watch face) it also tells you the distances. This is ideal for poor conditions or for those who complain about their eyesight!
Available from McGuirks’ 11 stores nationwide or online at www.mcguirksgolf.com for €199.
Yes, there have been decades of jokes about the golf ball that can never be lost… but now it’s a reality. The Radar Golf System includes a dozen micro-chipped balls and a hand-held device which will point the golfer in the right direction when the ball finds the rough. Ironically, the most difficult thing about this gift is finding somewhere that sells them.
There are always a plethora of gadgets being invented for and promoted to golfers so here are a couple of interesting ones:
This is, to put it simply, a flexible fibreglass stick that is balanced to help golfers warm up, get their swing into the groove and strengthen core muscles. Golfers can even carry it in their golf bag. Try americangolf.eu or visit one of their Irish stores (including one in Wilton, Cork). Cost €85.
Many golfers will remember images of Pádraig Harrington using what looked like an
orange straightjacket… this is the Golf Swing Shirt and it is designed to keep a golfer’s arms locked together during the swing and create a reliable and repeatable golf swing that works day in, day out. For the colour-phobic, the swing shirt also now comes in black.
Priced at £60 (€68) on www.golfswingsystems.co.uk
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