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Day 1 of 12 gifts of christmas
Day 1 of 12 gifts of christmas

The 12 gifts of Christmas Add to ...

The abundance of golf gear, gadgets and gizmos can be overwhelming for anyone heading out to shop for a golfer during the holiday season. Exasperated, many shoppers simply opt for a gift card from Golf Town or other big retailer. Nothing wrong with that, of course. The card won’t go wasted. But for those who insist on coming up with a tangible good that can be wrapped and put under the tree, here’s a list of stuff to consider. It’s highly subjective and doesn’t pretend to be comprehensive. These are just the things I can heartily recommend because I had positive, first-hand experience with them.

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Day 1 - Kikkor shoes

kikkor golf shoes

I could play the patriotic card and recommend Kikkor shoes because the Canadian company is the baby of James Lepp, a 29-year-old British Columbian who made his mark as an outstanding amateur and pro player before turning to business. But that would short sell the products he creates. His footwear is hip, borrowing style from skate and street cultures. And it’s so darn comfortable. Other bigger shoe makers such as Ecco, Nike and adidas have rushed to fill the same cross-over shoe niche as Lepp, but Kikkors in my experience were just as comfortable, if not more so. (My Tenny Clayburns didn’t need even nine holes to break in. If they didn’t have spikes, I’d wear them to the grocery store.) Modest price points ($65-$115) suggest to me that Kikkors might not hold up forever. But that’s of little concern. With new, ever-cooler models each year, I’d be content to replace them each season. (kikkor.com)

Day 2 - Tin Cup

12 Gifts of Christmas 

If you think it’s totally boring to mark your golf ball with a dot or a stripe, then check out Tin Cup. The U.S. company makes stencils ($9.95-$30 U.S.) that let you pimp out your golf balls with a variety of conventional insignias (lucky clovers, happy faces) and unconventional markings (skull and cross bones, cigars, #1 Dad). Just put the ball in the stencil shell and colour in the cut-out shape using a fine Sharpie. Voila. The logos of U.S. colleges and universities seem to be pretty popular for U.S. shoppers. But those of us north of border have plenty to pick from, too. I used the Canadian flag stencil to decorate my Bridgestones this season. It’s also possible to order your own name or initials ($70) if you really want to get personal. (tin-cup.com)

Day 3 - Galvin Green

12 Gifts of Christmas

My golf wardrobe is dominated by Oakley pants (for the fit and the funky plaids) and Travis Mathew shirts (for the laid-back vibe and Pima cotton comfort). But I was turned on this year to Galvin Green, a Swedish clothing maker that is just starting to make inroads in North America. (Canada is its beachhead, with expansion aimed at the top 100 clubs in the United States set for 2014.) Galvin’s colour scheme is bold (no wishy-washy pastels here), its logo is in your face and its pieces can be easily matched with one another. The cut is trim, streamlined, European. Swede Peter Hanson is among the tour pros who have been wearing Galvin, and his increased exposure on the PGA Tour this year (he tied for third place at the Masters, for example) has given the company a load of publicity and a human face. But what really separates Galvin from other apparel companies is its uncompromising rain gear, which all contains Gore-Tex. It is pricey (upward of $900 for a full suit) but unparalleled in its ability to keep the rain out – not to mention, it has a great fit and looks awesome, even in just basic black. I have a short-sleeved rain jacket and waterproof bucket hat. Even though I look ridiculous in the latter, I wouldn’t trade it for an umbrella. Matching rain pants will be among my 2013 purchases. (galvingreen.com)

Day 4 - MacKenzie Walker

12 Gifts of Christmas 

I don’t own a MacKenzie golf bag but it’s been on my wish list for a long, long time. A friend has one. Every time I play with him, I envy the beauty of the bag, and feelings of nostalgia and tradition wash over me. Here’s what my eloquent friend has to say about the bag: “As a game played over a vast swath of land, golf is made for walking. Increasingly, however, more and more players ride in carts. At the same time, a vibrant community of golfers continues to walk and enjoy the company of their fellow players alongside them, and the feeling of the ground beneath their feet. There’s no better way to do this than by putting one’s clubs in a MacKenzie walking bag, slinging it over the shoulder, and moving on. The MacKenzie Walker is a beauty of a bag; it sells for $845 (U.S.). The original Walker is eight inches in diameter, has two large pockets for balls, tees, a rain suit, and whatever else a golfer deems necessary. Every MacKenzie Walker is made of leather. A walking bag back in the day used to be called a Sunday bag. The company that makes the MacKenzie Walker also makes a Sunday Walker ($775). Its diameter is seven inches and has one pocket. The bag is named after Angus MacKenzie, who features in Michael Murphy’s famous novel Golf in the Kingdom . Murphy’s book is all about the spirit of the game, and anybody who uses the MacKenzie Walker will enhance his or her chances of absorbing that spirit.” (themackenziegolfbagcompany.com)

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