Gordon on Golf

Thoughtful holiday gifts for the golfer in your life (2021)

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This time of year, we are inundated with “gift guides for the golfer in your life.” I’m here to tell you I am that golfer and I don’t want most of that stuff.

Why the greatest game has the cheesiest accessories is beyond me. You’ve seen them: Caddyshack gopher head covers, ugly sweaters and those visors with the fake hair sprouting out the top. Note to my family: Buy me one of those and the next time you see one while walking through the local thrift store and remark, “Hey, that’s just like the one we got Uncle John for Christmas,” rest assured it is the same one.

So here’s the real stuff the golfer in your life (and likely you) want for Christmas.

A book you can’t put down

It’s been said that “the smaller the ball, the more is written about it” and, despite the fact I’ve never seen much literature about marbles, I believe that to be true. There are so many great books about every conceivable facet of golf. I particularly enjoy reading about the people, especially if they are Canadian. Gary Cowan’s new autobiography (written with David McPherson) From Rockway to Augusta chronicles his outstanding career. Cowan, an honoured member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, remains the only man to win the U.S. Amateur twice at stroke play. Hard- and soft-cover versions are available for order here.

A Golf Canada membership

Katie Cranston - Canadian Junior Girls

If the recipient doesn’t belong to a Golf Canada member club which includes a Golf Canada membership as part of their benefits, get them one. Priced around $50, it’s a bargain, providing an official handicap index among a plethora of other benefits including access to the full-feature Golf Canada app and incident protection coverage against lost, damaged, or stolen equipment. Learn all about it here

A club-fitting session

Here’s a vital tip. DO NOT buy golf clubs for the object of your affection. Few things are more personal than a golfer’s choice of tools. Getting fitted for clubs (and balls) is essential. A gift certificate for your local pro shop may seem a touch antiseptic but, trust me, it will be deeply appreciated. While an in-person fitting is preferable, most equipment companies offer sophisticated online fitting apps.

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Tickets to Canada’s National Opens

Canada’s national open championships (CP Women’s Open and RBC Canadian Open) make their highly anticipated return after a two-year break. Consider the full experience of world-class golf with tickets for you and yours.

Gift cards to your local pro shop

On the topic of gift certificates, how about patronizing your local courses this holiday season? Most offer gift cards for everything from merchandise, food and beverage, lessons and even a contribution toward annual dues.

Practice and tracking progress

Unless you live in balmy British Columbia, your practice is pretty well restricted to indoors. If you are committed to game improvement in the offseason, consider purchasing a launch monitor or visiting an indoor facility with access. Putting mats like the Wellputt are under 200 bucks and we all know how many strokes poor putting costs us.

This is my opinion only but mid- to high-handicappers don’t need an expensive rangefinder. The free Golf Canada mobile app offers GPS data alongside detailed hole-by-hole scoring.

Golf Canada App Lineup

A new push cart

The recent boom in golf participation has revealed that many golfers prefer to walk and use a push cart which is proven to be easier on the body (and better for your score) than carrying your clubs. Non-motorized carts like Bag Boy’s Nitron have all sorts of options. But if you want to splurge, go for something in the Motocaddy line of electric trolleys.

A donation to golf’s future

Give a donation to the First Tee – Canada. Your gift in any amount will help prepare kids for their future in golf and beyond. Give back to the game that’s given us all so much.

A final caveat: Supply-chain issues being what they are, you should order your golf gifts as soon as possible.