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|Nike's Xtreme Element carry bag has an ultra-light-weight aluminum exo-skeleton. (Courtesy of Nike Golf)|
Nike, Ecco and BogeyPro Golf are just a few of the brands offering hot golf gift options this Christmas.
The only thing I ask Santa for every Christmas is a hole-in-one during the coming year. Just one stinking hole-in-one. How hard can it be? My ball has stopped within two inches of the cup on several occasions, and even hit the edge of the hole on the fly once or twice. But never have I scored that elusive ace.
I'm betting the golfers on your Christmas list would take a hole-in-one over anything else you can give, too. But if even Santa can't deliver, it's going to be pretty hard for the rest of us to do so.
In lieu of a coveted ace, let me offer the following consolation prizes, any and all of which will go a long way toward softening the bitter disappointment of being aceless once gain this Christmas.
Weighing in at less than four pounds, the Nike Xtreme Element carry bag ($160) is constructed with an ultra-light aluminum exo-skeleton and a patented swivel dual-strap for decreased fatigue and increased comfort. Seven pockets and a six-way divider system help you keep all of your clubs and all of your swag organized. There's even room for a camera, just in case you do "bag" your ace.
Ecco consistently offers the most comfortable shoes right out of the box. This year, Ecco has introduced the Four Dots line of shoes ($170-$250), models in which range from fairly traditional to some cross between a golf shoe and a soccer cleat. No matter the style, though, each shoe passes through over 225 sets of hands, ensuring the greatest attention to detail on the market.
Nike's 2009 footwear comes closer than ever to Ecco's inherent comfort. The Nike Air Zoom TW 2009 ($270) is a Tour-grade shoe that offers the luxury of leather with the built-in performance benefits of lighter and more durable materials. It's the first shoe that combines leather and the unique Ballistic Mesh technology, resulting in what was once an oxymoron: a luxurious performance shoe (with which you could kick your ball into the hole and claim to have made a hole-in-one).
BogeyPro Golf (www.bogeypro.com) celebrates the ineptitude with which most of us play the game. The company motto is, "Sucking Since 2001." BogeyPro offers a wide range of both fun and useful products, including shorts and slacks that are so bright and loud your opponents' eyes and ears might start to bleed, and hole sponsor signs that say things like, "Today's opportunity to flirt with the beer cart girl sponsored by ..." Balls, bags, caps, shirts, humidors, pint glasses - most anything the golfer with a sense of humor needs to take the sting out of going aceless another year.
David Leadbetter is undeniably one of the world's leading swing gurus, and in 2008, he introduced the SwingSetter Pro training club (www.swingsetterpro.com; $150). This chimerical club has a formed grip to get your hands in the right position, an extendable pointer on the top of the grip to help visualize the swing-plane, and an adjustable split magnetic ball that "clicks" apart and together at the points in your swing when maximum velocity should be reached. Best of all, it is one of the very few swing trainers that you can actually hit a ball with. If you put in the time to groove tempo and contact with the SwingSetter Pro, you'll have a hole-in-one in no time. (Well, maybe ...)
Golf fashion has come a long, long way since Johnny Miller and Tom Watson assaulted our eyeballs in the 1970s. There seem to be two diverging trends this year. One design trend harkens back to the Golden Age of golf, invoking lines and styles of the 1930s-1950s. Included in this group are new high-end lines by Dunning (www.dunningsportswear.com) and (for women) LIJA (www.lijastyle.com), the latter of which is particularly glamorous (think movie starlets on the links).
The second trend is to break all the rules - with new colors, new patterns and new fabrics. Lots of these clothes should be worn only by fit golfers who don't mind making a bold fashion statement and perhaps, in retrospect, re-assaulting some eyeballs. Examples of this design philosophy are Quagmire (www.quagmiregolf.com) and Sligo (www.sligowear.com); however, Sligo's flagship collection won't be widely available until spring 2009.
Finally, spanning both design trends is perennial favorite Ashworth (www.ashworth.com). Ashworth offers both classic and innovative lines for men and women, including the ASHW 33 youth collection, and the Ashworth Organics collection for the green golfer on your list.
With all these fashion choices, you'll look like an ace on the course, even if you can't card one.
November 24, 2008
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.
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