Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Feed your golf habit

Routines are powerful. In golf, routines are especially valued. How many times have you heard top players talk about the importance of maintaining their pre-shot routine, or their practice routine, or their fitness routine? For amateurs, just working regular play into your routine is key to improvement. You’re not going to lower your handicap playing just once a month. One positive consequence of the pandemic has been more people playing golf more regularly.

There are bad routines too, though. And when productive regular routines get disrupted, it can be tough to get them back. Supply chains are essentially routines, and we’re seeing what happens when a global pandemic disrupts them. If you usually procrastinate, it would be wise to adjust your shopping routine and order early this year. Here’s a selection of gift ideas that will help keep golf part of your routine in 2022.

 BIG MAX Blade IP push cart

Maybe the best routine in golf is walking when you’re able. 18 holes works out to a 6-8 mile walk on most courses, which is fantastic exercise (and saves loads on cart fees). Lots of golfers replaced gym workouts with walking over the past couple of years, and this trend is continuing. Serious walkers who want to reduce strain on their backs are recognizing the benefits of push carts. One of the most compact and sturdiest on the market is the BIG MAX Blade IP ($350). BIG MAX is Europe’s top cart manufacturer, and the Blade IP is their most popular model. It folds to just 5” deep, so it easily fits in cars or lockers, and it’s built to last with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Galway Bay rainwear

Walking the course sometimes necessitates some extra protection against the elements. Galway Bay is renowned for high-quality outerwear that breathes while still keeping you warm and dry. Their new line of rainwear is constructed out of Hydro-Flex 32 fabric, which is extremely lightweight and quiet. My son received a Galway Bay all-weather long-sleeve rain jacket ($329) toward the end of his high school golf season and wore it during a couple of tournament rounds. His characteristically to-the-point evaluation? “That jacket kept me bone-dry—it really works!” Matching rain pants ($184) are also available to complete the ensemble.

Piper Golf Balls

Boutique golf ball brands have proliferated over the past decade. With golf’s popularity exploding during the pandemic, the market has expanded to make room for these innovative, quality, affordable pearls. One of the newest is Atlanta-based Piper Golf. Founder Mike Gottfried finally had enough of not knowing which ball suited his swing, so he developed a line of golf balls calibrated in construction, materials, and performance for players of all levels. Piper Green ($20/doz) is a 2-piece Surlyn-covered ball for slower swingers and higher handicappers. Piper Blue ($25), their most popular model, is a Surlyn 3-piece for 5-15 handicappers. Piper Black ($30) is a 3-piece urethane ball for players with mid-fast swings who consistently score in the 70s-80s – it competes with ProV1s. Piper Gold ($35) is the top-of-the-line 2-piece urethane ball for fast swinging top players. I’ve played all four and found all of them to perform as advertised. Brand loyalty is basically a routine. If it feels like it’s time to break your old routine and try something new, Piper is a solid option.

Clean Flight personal ball washer

One routine interrupted by COVID is cleaning your golf ball on each tee, as lots of courses removed ball washers to cut down on points of contact between players. But no matter what brand of ball you play, you’re going to want to keep them clean. The Clean Flight personal ball washer ($35) fits into a cart cup holder or clips onto your bag and comes with a tube of cleaning gel. I’ve used it with the gel and also with just a bit of soapy water in it to great effect – really handy in sloppy, muddy conditions!

Bushnell Phantom 2 GPS

Whether you walk or ride, having a handy, quick, light GPS will help you routinely choose the right club. The Bushnell Phantom 2 GPS ($130) is the lightest, most compact GPA device that is also easy to read and easy to keep track of. Numbers are large and easy to read, providing front, center, and back of green yardages. There’s also a green view mode with moveable pin placement. Best of all, in my opinion, is the integrated magnet, which locks the Phantom 2 firmly onto any ferrous surface on your push cart or golf cart.

Claw Pro golf glove

One golf routine I do not appreciate is paying $20 for a new glove every month or so. I much prefer my new routine of wearing one Claw Pro ($25) glove for an entire season. The Claw Pro is constructed of durable and breathable synthetic suede and mesh on the top with a ribbed silicone web coating on the palm, which keeps its grip seemingly forever.

Orca 16oz Chaser Tumbler

You know how Phil Michelson became the oldest major winner in golf history when he won the 2021 PGA Championship? Routine. Stretching, practice, diet, super-charged iced coffee – routine! Seriously, you don’t see Phil playing anymore without a tumbler of iced coffee (suped-up with nutritional additives). If you are thinking about adding a similar on-course drink to your routine, put it in the Orca 16oz Chaser Tumbler ($28). The doubled-hulled, vacuum-sealed stainless-steel construction will keep your drink—whatever it is—cold (or hot) for the entire round. And the hammered pearl model has a finish attractively reminiscent of a golf ball.

Wyoming Whiskey

One of my favorite golf routines is a drink with my buddies after the round. My new favorite libation for this ritual is Wyoming Whiskey’s Small Batch Bourbon. This smooth 88-proof bourbon is hand-crafted in Wyoming and aged 5 years. It has a floral nose with notes of cinnamon, caramel, and browned butter on the palate. It’s a great entry to an increasingly complex line of bourbons and semi-ryes that prove that great whiskey, like great golf, can be found in every state in the nation.

Big ticket item: Indoor golf simulators by GIMME Simulators

The best routine for golf is practice. And if you have the wherewithal to practice at home, a daily practice routine would be easy to develop. For the ultimate big-ticket item this holiday season, check out the extensive line of golf simulators and launch monitors offered by GIMME Simulators. GIMME not only helps you plan and construct the simulator package that best suits your needs, but also installs and maintains it for you. Their simulator packages run from $10,000 up to $34,000, depending on manufacturer and accessories.

Bonus Stocking stuffer: On Point 3D Ball Markers

If the golfer on your list is the kind of player who looks for an edge in every part of their game, slip one or two 3D Ball Markers by On Point Golf ($20) into their stocking this year. These 2-piece ball markers consist of a domed top half with one of several types of aiming rails or lines on it, and a flat coin bottom half with similar alignment lines. The idea is that the domed and dimpled top half mimics the golf ball and improves alignment. And having a ball marker that is two markers in one comes in handy a couple times a round, too.

May we all return to healthy and happy routines in 2022 and develop some new ones, including playing more and better golf. Happy Holidays!

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