FROM THE FORWARD TEES

A classic for womenSome gift ideas for the
female golfer in your life

By Cynthia Boal Janssens,
Contributor

As the holidays approach, make it a point to shop early, particularly for that lady in your life. However, if she is a golfer, that task becomes so much easier.

Female golfers always love to receive gifts related to their favorite passion. And I don't mean dumb gifts, either, like stupid little figurines that clutter up shelves and desks. Think about useful gifts that will help her either better understand the game or play it better.


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Here are some suggestions of gifts I'd like to see under my tree this year:

Half-sleeve windshirt: When I was in Scotland and Ireland this summer, all of the guys were wearing these and all of the ladies wanted them. We soon discovered that they were not yet making them specifically for women. However, Sunderland of Scotland, Ashworth and Antigua are all adding these shirts to their 2004 lines and say they should be in the stores this holiday season.

In actuality, you may have two choices: You either buy a smaller-sized men's half-sleeve shirt for her or give her a gift certificate for one when they arrive in the stores this spring. I would opt for the latter, because the men's styles tend to have longer sleeves than the women's. Plus, the new women's colors are going to be lush. Sunderland's new half-sleeve (model 2201) will be offered in nifty colors like peach, soft blue and yellow as well as the more standard black, claret and navy. They cost around $60.

Good golf reading:Reading about golf during the off-season is always pleasurable. My first choice is any of the late Harvey Penick's classics. Of course, his "For All Who Love the Game: Lessons and Teachings for Women" (1999) is the obvious first buy for any female golfer who has never read Penick. But if she already has it, then pick up the others for her (on tape or CD might be nice, so she can listen to them in the car). Whatever her level of ability, she will appreciate Penick's wisdom. (And chances are, you will read them, too.)

Computer software:
If your lady is a computer buff, then an inexpensive yet useful gift for her might be the Golfer's Diary software published by TQ Sports. This software will enable her to track all aspects of her game. If she is a beginner, then she can follow her nine-hole scores and maybe count her putts. More advanced players can track greens hit in regulation, penalty strokes -- even the cost of the local driving range. If you want to try this out in advance, you can download a trial version from tqs.net. If you like it, you can purchase the full version for $19.95. You can purchase a CD version of the program for $16.95 from macbirdie.com.

If you are interested in looking at other golf-related computer programs, check out worldgolf.com/golf-links/software.html.

Golf posters: There are all kinds of golf art available, but what I have started to collect are copies of vintage golf posters that depict women at play. There are many interesting designs that are not costly but will be please if you take the time to select a design you think she will like.

She can then frame it and put it wherever she wishes -- her office, her kitchen, her bedroom -- wherever she wants to be reminded of this great game. I bought my first vintage copy on Ebay, but you also can order them through sites like vintagearte.com and wonderfulitems.com. Many sell in the $30 range, without framing. This is one gift she won't expect, but she will fully appreciate.

Golf balls:
No, not just whatever is on sale. Try to find out what brand and style your lady really likes. Most women like Lady Precepts or Maxfli Noodles, although some stick to Titleist. The sexy ball this year, and the one that would make a fun gift, is the Volvik crystal ball. These are 70 compression and come in either a variety of colors or plain white. The semi-transparent covering gives these an iridescent look. You can find these for as low as $14.44 a dozen at golfgods.com.

Golf travel bag:
Most women really don't like men to pick out a cart bag for them. That is because we are sticklers on how many pockets we need and where we want them located. So, unless she picks the cart bag for herself, don't go that route. Instead, I would suggest giving her a new lightweight travel bag. The styles offered by Porterline are becoming popular because they are so much easier to carry, are lightweight (thus avoiding airline weight regulations). I've toted my huge travel bag, usually packed to the hilt, through enough airports to know that I want something different. And much as we hate to give up that extra room to bring home dirty clothes, most of us would appreciate a better way.

Porterline's bags are designed with hard tops to protect your clubs. You take off the top and put the bag right on the cart, or your back. There is no outer carry bag. Makes sense to me. Check out Porterline's designs at all major golf stores, as well as online. Prices begin around $100.

A golf trip:
Of course, the ultimate golf present is a golf trip. That's what we are all about here at Travelgolf, of course -- helping you decide where to go. But whether you choose a golfing weekend getaway in your own state or a couple of weeks in Hawaii, your lady will love you for it. It shows that you appreciate her game and that you want to spend time with her as she plays it.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.

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