I know “golf season” is year-round in many parts of the world, but not in the places where I have lived during my life. For me, there has always been an “off season,” when the blackness of my mood mirrors the darkness of the short days. When all I can do is dream of warm breezes and lush, verdant fairways.
Well, technically that’s not all I can do. I can shop—for others and for myself. And I can stock up on all sorts of golf equipment and accessories in a valiant effort to turn my dark days green. Whether you’re in the same off-season funk as I am this holiday season, or in the throes of peak-season southern golf, here’s a collection of golf gifts to turn any golfer’s season bright.
Kube Travel Cover by Sun Mountain
The best way to beat a winter funk is to fly off to somewhere warm and golfy. Protect your precious sticks with the Kube Travel Cover by Sun Mountain ($230). Kube looks like an ordinary, small, plastic suitcase but unbuckle it and it opens into a full-sized golf travel bag. It is constructed from durable, ballistic-style fabric in combination with plastic half-shells with dense foam padding through the top of the bag to protect golf clubs. When not in use, Kube folds down to 9″ x 13″ x 14.5″ for storage. When unfolded for use, it has internal dimensions of 52″ x 14″ x 14″ offering room for a golf stand bag or cart bag. Kube is available in eight colors. It’s perfect for golfers who may get away once or twice a year and wants their travel bag to take up as little room as possible the rest of the year. I have a couple travel bags, and my wife reminds me fairly regularly how much room they take up in the basement. The Kube is a great way to smooth this minor marital friction.
Titleist TruFeel and EXP-01 Golf Balls
Titleist is still the undisputed golf ball king (though the competition improves and expands every year), and ProV1/ProV1x are its prized jewels. But there are more infinity stones in this titan’s gauntlet. 2019 saw the introduction of the EXP-01, an experimental ball in limited release and which is still under further development. The EXP-01 ($40/doz while supplies last) has proprietary surface and core materials, and a new 346-dimple design to optimize flight. It may be the hype, but I swear they feel firmer in general but softer around the greens than even the ProV1. Felt like I was playing lights-out with this pearl.
Another 2019 offering is the TruFeel ($23-$30/doz), renamed and improved from the SoftFeel from a year ago. I actually prefer a softer (and less expensive) ball, and the TruFeel is amazing. Some testing reviews have described it as “squishy” or “soft,” but I found absolutely no decrease in distance off the tee – I bashed my drives and long irons with this ball. And around the greens, *chef’s kiss* as the kids today say. (And, frankly, I was less scared to lose these than I was the EXP-01!)
Volvik Marvel Avenger Golf Balls
If you picked up on the Marvel references above, you may be anticipating my favorite ball introduction of 2019: Volvik, official golf ball of the World Long Drive, now offers their premium 3-piece Vivid matte balls with Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Hulk colors and logos ($25.4-pack + ball marker). These balls are absolutely gorgeous! I mean, when I opened these and beheld their graphics and the matching polished steel hat-clip ball markers, I wept harder than I did at the end of Infinity War. I’m frankly scared to play them because I don’t want to lose any. I simply cannot bear to see Spidey disappear or lose Tony Stark again. (But I did play them, and, sure enough, lost most of them very quickly. But happily, Volvik makes more!)
BIG MAX push carts and bags
Maybe Golf Santa could use some exercise (I’m just sayin’…)? Get him (or her) out walking the course again with the best push carts and golf bags on the market. BIG MAX is a UK company that rules the European market, and for good reason. BIG MAX carts are engineering masterpieces, and BIG MAX bags provide unmatched protection from the elements for your clubs and your stuff.
The BLADE Quattro push cart from BIG MAX combines 4-wheel stability and Fold Flat technology to deliver unrivalled levels of practicality on the course, in the car and stored away at home. A host of features including footbrake, organizer panel, storage compartment, and height adjustable handle complete this stylish yet practical package, and when purchased in White/Red this holiday season, BIG MAX will gift a Rainsafe full-bag waterproof cover and Quick Lok Towel accessory absolutely free ($300).
The AQUA Sport 2 is a 100% waterproof cart bag that features a 9.5-inch organizer top with 14 full length dividers, 7 spacious pockets, oversized putter well, and an ultra-light weight of just over 5 lbs. For the holiday season, this cart bag comes with a free matching AQUA umbrella (best golf umbrella I’ve ever owned, btw) ($300, available in Black/silver, Charcoal/Black/Red, Silver/Black/Cobalt, Red/Black/Silver, Navy/Black/Silver).
The AQUA Wave is a stylish, lightweight, and 100% waterproof stand bag. The Wave’s 8 ½” top extends into 4 full length dividers, while its 6 waterproof pockets, air channel straps and ultra-light weight of just over 4lbs make the bag a hugely practical and colorful addition to any golfer’s gear. For the holiday season, this stylish, waterproof and washable cart bag comes with a free matching AQUA umbrella (while stocks last) ($250, available in Black, Red, Yellow, White/Orange, Petrol).
PXG Spitfire Putter & Putter Fitting
A few years ago, I went through a PXG clubfitting. I was extremely impressed by the process and the clubs. Without exception, the clubs the fitter put me into were 10-15 yards longer and produced narrower shot dispersion than my then-current set (which I loved). PXG has just introduced a new putter called The Spitfire ($500)–and has 8 other putter models, too–and I have to admit, I’m dying for a putter fitting now. My current putter is wonderful…I think. But there are some days when I feel like I just can’t quite dial it in. Maybe a fitting (free and no-obligation to anyon) and an ultra-premium Spitfire putter – a winged mallet with a plumber’s neck hosel – is what I need to keep my handidcap in the single-digits and creep lower toward scratch… If your favorite golfer has been extra good this year, a visit to a PXG fitter and a new flatstick would be a tremendous way to reward him/her. (If my wife is reading, HINT! HINT!)
Multi-year Anniversary Memberships
Harrison Hills Golf Club in Attica, IN, is ranked annually as one of the best public courses in the state. It’s celebrating 95 years of play in 2020 by offering $49 memberships when you buy three years. Look for similar great season passes at your local course.
Last season, my home course (Lake of the Woods, Mahomet, IL) offered 50th Anniversary Passes at prices that were almost too good to be true. If you bought a 2-year pass at $89/year, you got full-access greens fees after a certain time on weekdays and a slightly later time on weekends. Of course carts and tournament fees were extra, but still this was a heckuva deal – and wildly successful.
Now Harrison Hills Golf Club in Attica, Indiana, is celebrating 95 years of play with a similar deal: $49 for nearly unlimited greens fees if you buy 3 years-worth of passes (ie., about $150 for three years of golf!). Again, this doesn’t include carts, and pass-holders have to wait until after 11am on weekends, but wow – this is a real bargain for a true architectural gem.
The point of all of this is that you should check out local clubs for similar deals, as this seems to be a trend. You (or your favorite golfer) can save a ton of money by taking advantage of these limited-time offers.
You know what two of the under-appreciated true joys of golf are? Walking in a new pair of socks and pulling on a new golf glove.
Swiftwick Golf Socks
The best golf socks on the market are by Swiftwick, and my favorites are the new Maxus Zero-Tab golf socks ($12), but the ASPIRE and FLITE XT (pictured) are pretty sweet, too. Swiftwick’s offerings are all compression socks that wick moisture, improve circulation, and promise no blisters. They all also improve stability and comfort both on the sole and around the ankle, the two places golfers tend to experience discomfort from old or poorly-fitted golf shoes. The golfer on your list will be thinking, “Merry Christmas to me!” with every step.
Claw Golf Glove by CaddyDaddy
Traditional leather golf gloves get black and dirty ad crinkly. One reason I don’t wear them very often. They also make my hand sweat…a lot. The Claw Golf Glove by CaddyDaddy ($20) has a microfiber palm that not only improves grip on your club but also breathes. The airflow through this glove is almost magical. It won’t crack, harden, or discolor. And if it gets sweaty, it’s machine-washable, so it lasts 3-5 times longer than a traditional glove.
I hope this walk through golfdom’s gift shop has made your spirits bright, as they say this time of year. Those of you who can play year-round, think of us here up north as you tee off. And maybe ask Santa to send us a little sumthin-sumthin to remind us of warmer days sure to come.