By Kiel Christianson,
Ogio's Mammoth travel bag, Linda Hipp golf apparel, Nike Golf's KARMA golf balls and Vulcan Golf's Speedlite V14 driver are just a few of the goodies making Equipment Editor Kiel Christianson's list of excellent Christmas golf gifts for 2007.
Golf travel is all about efficiency. Yet we golfers are generally laden with accoutrements, which can make travel a tiring, tedious nightmare. This Christmas, give the traveling golfer in your life things that will make his or her next golf trip easier, and thus, better.
Although we'd like to avoid excess weight whenever possible, it's also best to avoid excess baggage, i.e., spreading all your stuff out across suitcases, golf bags, duffel bags, etc., etc. Ogio's (www.ogio.com) new 50" Mammoth ($330) has room in it for everything the traveling golfer needs.
The Mammoth's features include upright rolling on swiveling wheels along with the standard tilting roll, a zip-off shoe bag, crush-proof hat pocket, reinforced internal straps and padding to keep the clubs safe, and a super-hard "sled" to withstand the clumsiest baggage handlers. It might get heavy, but you can even fit your clothes inside. If you need more than one bag, though, it matches other Ogio bags.
One way to save on space when packing is to take only clothing that will do double-duty, on and off the course. LIJA by Linda Hipp (www.LIJAStyle.com) is by far the most fashion-forward designer of women's hybrid golf-leisure wear that looks great wherever you are. A dedicated off-course LIJA collection called Life of Leisure will be out in Spring 2008 too.
For men, Dunning has introduced the "system" concept, which is ideal for colder weather. The idea is that multiple pieces - compression undergarments, technical polos and pants, and outerwear - work in concert to keep muscles warm and loose while allowing freedom of movement and breathability. Zach Johnson wore Dunning (www.dunninggolf.com) golf apparel at the Masters.
The most travel-friendly, efficient golf apparel item we've run across this year is the Convertible Vest by Ahead ($111, www.aheadweb.com). This waterproof, sleeveless vest not only looks sharp, it also conceals a lightweight windshirt/rain slicker that unrolls from a zippered compartment at the bottom. If James Bond golfed, this is what he'd wear.
THE Golf Mat (www.thegolfmat.net) might have a cheesy name, but it is completely portable for golf travelers ($199) - and it's endorsed by Vijay Singh, the PGA Tour's greatest ball-beater.
The mat is designed to produce the same "give" at impact as real turf and affords you the perfect lie anywhere.
With their low 50-compression, Nike Golf's (www.nikegolf.com) new KARMA golf balls ($28/dozen) are billed as best for slower swing-speeds, but their incredible feel and surprising distance might make everyone consider them. Besides, the recycled packaging and karmic name might help in some cosmic way to keep your luggage from getting lost.
Travel conundrum: you don't want to carry tons of balls on your trip, but you also don't want to run out. Solution: Vision Golf Balls from Australia (www.visiongolfball.com). Their UV Yellow ball isn't pretty, but the cover actually absorbs UV light to make it easy to see and find, even in dusky conditions, when it actually appears to glow. You won't lose many of these ($30/dozen).
Cut down on travel weight by carrying the lightest driver on the market today: Vulcan Golf's Speedlite V14 ($299, www.vulcangolf.com) is so new, it might not even be widely available yet. This 430cc driver is 30-50 grams lighter than anything you've ever swung before, allowing golfers of all levels to generate blazing swing speed. And it won't weigh you down in the airport!
Taking the little golfer along on your trip? PowerBilt (www.powerbilt.com) has expanded its junior sets to include four boxed sets for boys and two for girls. The sets begin for kids as young as three, and range in price from $110-$150.
Finally, if mountains of money are weighing you down, here's the ultimate golf and travel gift: Membership in the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club of Canada (hdhzmedia.ca), complete with an ocean front home site at Wyndansea.
The membership also gets you full golf privileges at the JNGC of Canada located at Wyndansea Oceanfront Golf Resort for the whole family (multi-generational), associate membership in Jack Nicklaus Golf Clubs worldwide, exclusive club amenities at any Jack Nicklaus Golf Club around the world, without any dues or initiation fees, and privileges at Jack's two home clubs, The Bear's Club North Palm Beach and Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
Oh, and to ensure you're able to reach the finest golf resorts in the world, included with the ultimate golf gift is an Oncite JetCard that allows fractional access to private jets for one year without pre-loading.
The cost for the whole shebang? A mere $2.2 million.
Where is Santa when you need him?
November 26, 2007
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.