Gifts for golfers

You wouldn't want to disappoint him, would you? Here are some golf gift suggestions guaranteed to please and possibly surprise him.

How often can you buy something for your man that is the best in the world, and won't break the bank? The superfine Merino wool in these socks wears well, feels good, wicks moisture, stays in position, maintains its shape, and lasts a long time. Better yet, they're made in America and come with a 100 percent money back guarantee. That's a slam dunk, even in golf.

Forget, for a moment, that winter is over and we're entering the summer months. It doesn't last forever. And, your golfing dad may take a trip to a wetter climate. If so, here is the best, sharpest, hippest lightweight rain suit I have ever seen. It's waterproof, windproof, stretches, adjusts, and feels as comfortable as regular clothing. I wear the red, short-sleeved top with the pants in black. Both have plenty of pockets and zippers for easy access, and look positively stylish. In fact, the pants have an adjustable hem so you can make them a perfect length. Sometimes, I wear them over shorts on cold, foggy mornings, and put them in the bag later on. The combo COSS a little more the $200, and comes with a two-year warranty. That's a good deal deal for quality rainwear.

THE UPSET-Jack Fleck's Incredible Victory Over Ben Hogan at the US Open:
Al Barkow is a bay area resident, a hall-of-fame golf writer, the former host of SHELL'S WONDERFUL WORLD OF GOLF, and a good friend of mine. This book is a wonderful, narrative, detailed read that will take you back to the world of professional golf in 1955, and to the famous US Open playoff at the Olympic Club in which Jack Fleck beat Ben Hogan. It was a major upset at the time -- all-the-more amazing because Hogan was as big, then, as Tiger Woods became in his prime, while Fleck was a struggling tour professional. Barkow knew all of those men personally, and writes with familiarity about them. This book is golf history told through the memory and experiences of a guy who witnessed it first-hand. It's a fast, satisfying read.

With so much free instruction already available on The Golf Channel or YouTube, why should anyone buy an instructional DVD? Because mega-teacher Butch Harmon made this one, and unless you attend his golf academy in Las Vegas, it's as close as you will get to one-on-one instruction from him. This four hour, two disc set breaks the game into ten sections ranging from basic fundamentals, faults and fixes, to club selection, to fitness. Harmon's explanations and drills are clear, straightforward, and helpful. They helped me. If your golfing father is a beginning player, the menu and easy accessibility to specific lessons will help him to improve his game.

The DVD set retails at $79.99 -- about what he would pay for a lesson with a local pro. Harmon's DVD does answer plenty of questions.

This is a very good trouble club for not a lot of money. Adams sent a 24 degree version for me to try. I replaced my 5-iron with it for use on a 180 yard par-3 at my course. This hybrid turned the challenging tee-shot into a ho-hum swing. The hybrid produced high flights, soft landings, and a couple of birdies. Adams says the club has 'velocity slot technology' and an 'ultra-thin face.' I just know that it's almost automatic. The A12 Hybrid comes in four lofts, beginning at 17 degrees. Ask your golfing dad which iron or fairway metal he has the most trouble hitting, and give him one of these as a band-aid. You can find this club new for a little more than $100.

GARMIN APPROACH S1 GPS WATCH: If your golfing dad isn't one of those few remaining purists who pace out yardages the old-fashioned way, this is a cool tool. I do not use one, but several of my friends swear by the device. It does not require a subscription, automatically identifies 18-thousand courses, and shows yardages to the fronts, backs, and middles of greens. When used as a GPS device, one charge lasts two rounds. When you wear it as a regular watch, the battery sustains longer. It even has a pedometer feature. Look around. You can find this rangefinder for less than $200.

Finally, someone has designed golf practice net that doesn't fall down at the first puff of wind. This $200 dollar product works outside or inside. It has adaptors that allow a golfer to store, hang, and retract it from his garage door. Nick is a high school coach out of Southern California. He crafted this net from pre-cut PVC pipes, netting, and ties. Assembly will take about an hour if your golfing dad is also a handyman. It took me closer to two. The net is seven and a half feet wide, and six and a half feet high. My wife does not like the net because she says it ruined the view from her deck, to which I replied, "Sorry about that, dear."

If you buy this item for your golfing dad, he'll know you really love him. Either that, or you're tired of watching him take practice swings on the carpet. At more than $300, this is a still a good deal when compared with other golf simulators that cost much more. It allows him to hit actual shots on a simulated course with real or practice golf balls. Ball flights, distances, club head speeds, and face angles display on a computer screen. Your golfing dad can play matches against friends in the room, or others on line. I borrowed a unit from the manufacturer, and frankly, it's more than a little addicting. Buy this for your golfing dad if you don't want to see him for hours after dinner. This product does not work with Mac computers.

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