Christmas Golf Gifts are So Hit and Miss

Remembering some great and not-so-great gifts down the years.

By Tony Dear

We’ve already posted this year’s Christmas gift guide(s), and it’s too soon for a review of the year and to look ahead to 2023. Plus, it’s not exactly the busiest week of the year for product launches. It was tricky, therefore, identifying a suitable subject for this week’s gear post. We could have analyzed the equipment Charlie Woods played at the PNC pro/relative hit-and-giggle at the weekend, but can you say ‘overkill’? Looking for inspiration, something caught my attention on the bookshelf – ‘Golf Jokes – The Ultimate Collection’.
I don’t really do golf jokes as the vast majority aren’t remotely funny. Some may have been at some point in the past, but not anymore. I mean, I do have a sense of humor and all, but the old formula of distraught golfer after bad round looking forward to tomorrow’s game, or devoted golfer choosing his clubs over his wife (or some variation thereof) fails to raise a smile anymore.
It got me thinking about all the golf items that loved ones – some who understood a golf joke book was a pretty feeble idea (don’t want to appear ungrateful but, please, don’t waste your money) and some who obviously didn’t – have gifted down the years.

Worst Three Golf Gifts

3. Eau de Cologne for Golfers (circa 1988)

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A fairly distant relative who 1) obviously thought anything golf-related would work, 2) had about three minutes to find something and just happened to see it while searching for someone else’s gift, and 3) thought a teenager would need some aftershave, presented me with a bottle many years ago. The name of this noxious stuff escapes me but was something like ‘Golfer’s Scent’. Anyway, it smelled terrible and burned my skin.

2. GOLF Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Courses You Can Play’ (circa 2015)

I love her dearly but my mother-in-law clearly didn’t put a great deal of thought into this one, succumbing to the ‘anything with golf in the name will do’ syndrome. It could have worked and, in most cases, the book of GOLF Magazine’s top 100 you can play would certainly be a welcome gift. But the fact this particular edition had been published in 1999, about 15 years before, and was clearly out of date worked against it.

1. Golf Joke book (circa 1990/1994/2000/2012)

We’ve covered this. There are probably four or five such items on my shelves, but my reaction to the last one (a quick wince I didn’t disguise terribly well) has hopefully prevented any more.

(Un)honorable mention

The Potty Putter (circa 2015)
While my potty putter remains a very special gift as it was given to me by my young son, I’m not sure it ever made it out of the box and remains somewhere deep in the closet.”

Best Three Golf Gifts

3. 1990 Open Championship sweater (1990)

A few months before he died, my father and I had attended the Open at St. Andrews where we saw Nick Faldo play some remarkable golf (ten years later, I watched Tiger Woods deconstruct the same course in similar fashion). My mother, knowing how special that trip had been, got me a sweater with the ‘Open Championship 1990 (with embroidered Claret Jug)’ logo that I still have in my closet and which fits surprisingly well even if the sleeves are a little contorted nowadays.  
2. ‘Getting to 18’ (Tom Doak book – 2020)

This one was a bit sneaky as I bought it for myself and announced to my wife over dinner one evening “By the way, you’ve already got me my Christmas present for this year, so don’t get anything else. It was…er…quite expensive.”

1. Regripped clubs (1986)

My first ever golf gift is still the best, or rather it aroused the most excitement. My grandfather’s clubs has been handed down to me and weren’t in the best condition with torn leather grips that might have felt good new in the 1960s but had certainly lost some of their tackiness by the mid-‘80s. A new set of grips made them look good as new though, and they felt great. They really could have been an entirely new set of clubs.

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