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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 ...

Day 5 - Tournament tickets

12 Gifts of Christmas 

As I noted in my Short Game blog recently, one of golf’s majors in 2013 is tantalizingly close to the Canadian border, at least for those in central Canada. The PGA Championship will be held at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y., less than three hours from Toronto and area. If seeing a major live is still on the bucket list of a golf fan you know, there’s no time like now. General grounds tickets for the final round are sold out, but passes for the other competitive rounds and the practice days remain. ($35-75 U.S.) On Canadian soil, the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo, Ont., was an overwhelming success in its debut this year. Crowds rivalled what the tour gets at its majors. More than 65,000 descended on Grey Silo last June to see the best women in the world play. That’s why it might be a good idea to get tickets early, to avoid any possible disappointment. The tournament is offering a holiday gift package – $59 gets you two any-day tickets and a scarf, presented in a gift box. As well, the RBC Canadian Open - Canada's national open championship for men - is being played at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario next July while the CN Canadian Women's Open will showcase the top female golfers in the world in Edmonton next August.  (pga.com/pgachampionship/2013; manulifeclassic.ca ; rbccanadianopen.com ; cncanadianwomensopen.com

Day 6 - Greens fee three-pack

12 Gifts of Christmas 

It’s pretty easy at this time of year to find deals from courses selling discounted tee times for next season. Check the website of any track that interests the golfer in your life and it likely has a holiday special. If you happen to live in Southwestern Ontario, or are a savvy Torontonian who realizes there’s great golf just a couple of hours away at half the cost, then there’s no better deal going than the one offered by three outstanding courses in and around London. Tarandowah, Forest City National and FireRock aren’t formally affiliated but have joined to offer a greens fee on each course in 2013 for one total rate, $169. Price includes cart and range balls, and perhaps best of all there are no time restrictions. I grew up in London and would say they’re the best three public-access courses in the area. Tarandowah in Avon is as close to a true links as you’re going to find inland, Forest City in London is an enjoyable modern parkland and the Thomas McBroom-designed FireRock in Komoka is a fascinating example of how scarred land (an old gravel pit) can be repurposed into a superb golf course. You can play the courses any time during the season in any order, but out-of-towners might want to co-ordinate tee times to play all three on a two– or three-day road trip. (puregolf.net

Day 7 - TaylorMade Ghost Spider S putter

12 Gifts of Christmas 

I’m a huge fan of TaylorMade’s drivers. I rotate an old R7 SuperQuad, a sort-of-old R9 and a not-so-old R11 through my bag. But the TaylorMade club that made the most difference in my game this past season was the Ghost Spider S putter ($179). The deep mallet looks somewhat ridiculous, at least to me, who played an Acushnet Bulls Eye for almost 30 years. But its performance sure isn’t ridiculous. I sense that the putter (perhaps because of its weight and shape) swings more smoothly and squarely through impact, and the ball absolutely pops off the face. I’m hitting the ball firmer and truer, giving more putts a chance to fall, and making short putts (inside six feet) more frequently and with way more confidence. (taylormadegolf.ca)

Day 8 - Unconscious Putting: Dave Stockton’s Guide to Unlocking Your Signature Stroke

12 Gifts of Christmas 

Dave Stockton has become the putting guru of choice in tour golf. Rory McIlroy is among his students. But the rest of us can get the same instruction through this tidy little book ($20.06), which comes in at less than 100 pages. I love Stockton’s brevity, not to mention his simplicity. He doesn’t advocate practice strokes, for example. Or thought for that matter. (Hence the title.) In an age on instruction that clogs our brains with swing thoughts to the point of paralysis, Stockton’s simple lessons are refreshing. He also has another book called Unconscious Scoring. That’s the next step for me. (stocktongolf.com

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