So it’s come to this. Three days till Christmas and you’ve got exactly squat for the golfer on your list. Now you’re staring at the holiday equivalent of a whiffed tee shot.
Of course, there’s still time to hit the local golf shop or order a gift online. Then again, that would mean braving mob-like crowds or crossing your fingers for an on-time delivery. Either way, you’re stuck in the rough.
Consider the following roundup a free drop – in some cases, quite literally. These cyber-gifts require no leaving of the house, no leap of faith in UPS and, best of all, no wrapping. Shipping is courtesy of your friendly internet service provider. If you’re already set for Christmas 2012, file these suggestions away for future reference, like Father’s Day, birthdays, etc.
Read on for your guide to last-minute, no-touch golf gifts.
E-zine does it
Haven’t you heard? Print is dead. Traditional magazines are so 20th Century. The e-zine is here to stay.
For the fanatical pro golf follower who also likes to keep up with equipment trends and travel destinations, Global Golf Post arrives in the inbox each Monday stuffed with news and opinion pieces a by top-notch writers. It’s got an unbeatable cover price, too – zero dollars and zero cents. Just sign up your recipient here: www.globalgolfpost.com
Maybe you live in New England and you need a cure for the Winter Blues? An absolute must would be a subscription to New England Golf Monthly. Loaded with golf course reviews, discounts, indoor golf facilities, golf vacation packages and tons of great equipment information. You can sign up for the ezine right here: www.MyNEGM.com
The Golf Odyssey Newsletter is a bit pricier – $147 per year – but a) They offer a free trial subscription; b) It’s the aficionado’s choice for accurate, objective reviews of golf courses and destinations worldwide; and c) Members are treated to all sorts of exclusive offers and discounts. In other words, it’s worth every penny. Check it out at www.golfodyssey.com
Help them help themselves
Seeing your own swing on screen can be downright painful. But you know what they say – no pain, no gain. The latest craze in golf instruction is online video analysis, which allows you to upload clips of your swing and submit them to a teaching pro for review, feedback and custom-tailored instruction. If your buddy’s got a video camera, sign him/her up for free at www.v1golfacademy.com. They can download the necessary software in a matter of minutes and take it from there.
If your golfer’s not keeping track of stats such as driving accuracy, greens in regulation and three-putts, then he’s behind the curve. Charting one’s own stats is a great way to direct self-improvement by determining and focusing on areas of weakness. And yeah, it kinda makes you feel like a tour pro, too. Numerous sites offer free tracking, with premium plans that include official USGA handicap services. Try www.oobgolf.com, www.stracka.com and www.myscorecard.com.
One upside to the economic downturn – and the glut of golf courses left by overbuilding in the 1980s and ’90s – is that many private clubs have opened their doors to outside play. They gotta pay the bills, you know. A site called Boxgroove.com gives members access to tee times at more than 650 private courses across the country just for signing up, which is free; pay $49 per year and they’ll waive the $19.95 booking fee charged with each round.
Bonus: Purchase a premium membership and the recipient receives a free sleeve of Titleists and a $10 Golfsmith gift voucher. Here’s the link: www.boxgroove.com/members/gift
Does your golfer own a Kindle, a Nook or another e-reader? Is so, you’re in luck. Amazon currently lists nearly 2,000 golf titles in its Kindle library, while Barnes & Noble boasts more than 10,000 golf books for the Nook. Send your pal a great instruction book, a guide to improving their mental game, maybe something on the world’s greatest courses, a biography of their hero, or even a work of fiction like Golf in the Kingdom. In print or on screen, a book is one gift that never goes out of style.
Bundle o’ links
I know it’s hard to believe, but the web is full of great golf sites. You’ve probably got a bunch of them bookmarked (like this one), so why not share the wealth? Put together a list of links to cool sites on swing instruction, course reviews, opinion or hot golf babes, ship them via email and just like that, you’ve scratched another giftee off your list.
My personal faves include www.golfclubatlas.com (for the true course-design geek), www.theaposition.com (where terrific writers cover a range of topics), www.linksmagazine.com (a purist’s pub where visitors can vote for the game’s best courses), and http://www.golfwrx.com (for those who are really into equipment).
Well, my work is done here. All you’ve got to do is pick a suitable cyber-goodie for your golfer(s) and turn that whiff into an ace.
Daniel Mitchell is a golf writer and Golf-Newz.com contributor who lives in Jupiter, Fla., a few miles from Tiger Woods as the crow flies but worlds away in every other respect. An avid golfer since age 12, Mitchell carries a (shaky) single-digit handicap, investing far more time in his dogs than his swing.
You can read his regular musings at a-gamegolfblog.blogspot.com