At The Turn: Need to give a golf gift but don’t get the game? Help is here

OTTAWA — For anyone unfamiliar with the game, buying a gift for a golfer can be a stressful and intimidating ordeal — so much so that many people won’t bother, reasoning that the links-obsessed loved one in question can just get what they want themselves.

Sound logic, that. A Golf Town gift card always works for me.

But here’s the thing: it’s not that tough. With just a little advice, it’s easy to ace buying a golf gift, even if you don’t know a fairway from a Ferrari. So if you’re under the gun with just days to go until Christmas, keep reading. We’ll get through this together.

CLUBS AND BALLS

Default position: don’t bother, especially if your player is an experienced one. There’s a dizzying array of options available out there, and few golf components are as personal and player-particular as golf balls and the clubs they use to hit them.

That said, if you’re bound and determined to give a driver, a wedge, a putter or a complete set, contact his or her club pro shop or the nearest Golf Town, GolfTec or boutique outfit and tell them you want to give a custom fitting for Christmas. www.golftown.com, www.golftec.com

Golf balls are a little easier, if you follow a simple rule: the better the player, the more expensive the ball. Top-tier spheres like Titleist’s Pro V1, TaylorMade TP5 or Callaway Chrome Soft are always a safe bet — even the pickiest golfer will tee up any of them. Cheaper, lower-tier balls that offer low spin and put a premium on distance are for higher handicappers.

GOLF-BAG SWAG

Sneak a peek at your beneficiary’s golf bag. What do you see? Ratty, dirty headcovers or anything resembling Garfield, a beer can or a “Family Guy” character? A sleek leather replacement from Dormie Workshop would fit the bill — just make sure you know which club you’re looking to protect (driver, fairway wood or hybrid). Halifax-based Dormie also makes customized yardage book covers, valuables pouches and alignment stick covers to trick out that pair of plastic rods you might see jutting out the top of the bag. www.dormieworkshop.com

GAME AND SWING TRACKERS

If your golfer is the analytical, DIY student-of-the-game type and keeps one eye on a smartphone all the time, consider putting one of the hottest game-improvement gadgets on the market under the tree. Here’s three to take a close look at.

For the golfer who wants to keep hands-free tabs on scores, statistics like greens in regulation, average driving distance and miss percentages, the second-generation Arccos 360 system is a can’t-miss winner. Low-profile sensors attach to each club and sync with a smartphone, tracking each stroke and mapping them on an overhead, Google Maps-style view of the course. For an extra $63 a year, the Arccos Caddie feature uses all that data to recommend the best club selections and strategies on the fly, even when playing a course for the first time. www.arccos.com

For someone who’s constantly looking to improve their putting, the Blast Motion system offers the best combination of value and sophistication. While it can assess full-swing shots, it really shines on the practice green, tracking stroke speed, face rotation, lie angle and myriad other data points, matching it all up with video for a detailed, real-time lesson. www.blastmotion.com

And for a range rat with a social side, the latest generation of Zepp swing sensor offers a 3D simulation that tracks swing path, clubhead speed and hip turn, all from your smartphone. A new on-course mode lets players use Zepp while playing, for an enlightening look at how one’s swing changes from the practice tee to the first tee. www.zeppgolf.com.

MORE GOLF SHIRTS? REALLY?

Yes, really. We never have enough. Look at it this way: It’s a safe bet that no matter their age or gender, your golfer has left the house at some point looking like something out of “Caddyshack.” Here’s your chance to exact some of your own sartorial influence. U.S. manufacturer Antigua offers a wide array of men’s and women’s golf attire, including authentic Solheim Cup gear, that boasts high-tech, moisture-wicking Desert Dry Xtra Lite fabric — the go-to material of choice for golf garb these days, and the perfect replacement for that pit-stained, puce-yellow polo in Dad’s closet. www.antiguashop.com

ON-COURSE TREATS

You probably already know golfers are, by and large, a few balls shy of a full bucket when it comes to the game. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love stocking stuffers — and stuffing our faces. Here’s a couple of golf-specific goodies perfect for sticking in that sock.

Beef jerky is big in pro golf these days, for a bunch of reasons: it keeps well, it’s low-carb and low-mess, and easy to gnaw on between shots. It’s even better when it tastes good, not like a hunk of road tar. Enter Chef’s Cut Real Jerky, which is not only delicious, it’s got golf in its DNA: Chef’s Cut was co-founded by former pro Dennis Riedel and graces the pro-shop shelves at iconic courses like Pebble Beach and Pinehurst. www.chefscutrealjerky.com

Hydration is important, too. Consider the way PGA Tour superstar Jason Day does it — with a tasty packet of SwingOil, a “dietary supplement for golf” loaded with stuff like swing-easy glucosamine and chondroitin, inflammation-fighting turmeric and taurine for energy.

SwingOil comes in three flavours: lemon-lime, orange and strawberry-banana. Toss the single-serving pouches in the freezer overnight and they’ll be nice and slushy by the 10th tee. www.swingoil.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

A Red Deer County man was arrested for drug possession by Innisfail RCMP on April 19. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Property crime and drugs top Red Deer RCMP priorities in new plan

2020-2022 Policing Priorities Plan going to city council on Monday

RCMP estimate about 500 people gathered on the weekend near Garrington Bridge along the Red Deer River, in a July 28, 2020 story. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Second person charged for alleged assault at anti-racism rally in Red Deer

A second person is facing charges following an alleged assault during an… Continue reading

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees vice-president Bonnie Gustola criticized provincial government layoffs at a rally that drew more than 80 people at City Hall Park on Friday.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
More than 80 rally in Red Deer against government health, education cutbacks

Rally at City Hall Park organized by the Council for Canadians

The higher the education level, the higher the income of some 1.3 million post-secondary graduates surveyed between 2010 and 2015, with master's degrees paying off the most. But the findings also suggest that gender and timing matter. (Black Press Media File).
2020 high school grads won’t get their ceremony

Decision announced by Lindsay Thurber and Hunting Hills high schools, and Gateway Christian School

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

New voluntary measures, including the encouragement of more mask wearing, have been introduced in the Edmonton health zone. “Red Deer has been very fortunate to have relatively low case numbers . . . relative to the rest of the province and the country,” says Mayor Tara Veer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
POLL: Should Alberta have stricter rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Should Alberta have stricter rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?… Continue reading

Police in Ottawa are investigating an incident of hate-motivated graffiti at the National War Memorial. The alleged incident happened last Friday night, when police say a man, shown in a police handout photo, used a sharp object to engrave a hateful message on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. THE CANADIAN PRESSS/HO-Ottawa Police Service MANDATORY CREDIT
Ottawa police investigating hate-motivated graffiti incident at National War Memorial

Ottawa police investigating hate-motivated graffiti incident at National War Memorial

Indigenous fisherman Robert Syliboy stands on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Tensions remain high over an Indigenous-led lobster fishery that has been the source of conflict with non-Indigenous fishermen. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Andrew Vaughan
For Mi’kmaq fishers, dreams of a peaceful harvest on N.S. waters repeatedly dashed

For Mi’kmaq fishers, dreams of a peaceful harvest on N.S. waters repeatedly dashed

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday October 21, 2020. Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, says he is set to tell Prime Minister Justin Trudeau he has 'lost confidence' in RCMP Commissioner Lucki. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Bellegarde wants Brenda Lucki out as head of RCMP

Bellegarde wants Brenda Lucki out as head of RCMP

This image released by CBS All Access shows Dan Illescas, left, and Tracey Stabile of the Central Texas Pig Rescue in a scene from the CBS All Access docuseries "That Animal Rescue Show." (Danny Matson/CBS All Access via AP)
Animals, people rescue each other in heartfelt docuseries

Animals, people rescue each other in heartfelt docuseries

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe scores his sixth goal of the WHL season in the first period against the Tri-City Americans on Saturday night at the Centrium. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
WHL grants players temporary transfer until mid-December

Players are eligible to suit up in Junior A, Junior B and U-18 ranks

Most Read