Blog 83, 12/11/10 - Christmas Gift Ideas 4

Actually, part of the reason for going was to interview Scotland's Martin Laird who now lives in Scottsdale and who broke into the world's top 50 at the end of October.
Anyway, we're here for five more gift ideas for your very special golfer...It's December 11th which means some of you have completed your Christmas shopping, while some are still 10/11/12 days from even starting. Those still looking for gifts for golfers in their household, may find something here.

∑ - This could be considered a 'main present' for a close family relative; probably a son or daughter.
µ - This is a considerable gift, but it didn't quite break the bank. You looked for it specifically - not a whim.
π - Genuinely thoughtful, but inexpensive. You really didn't just pick up the first thing you saw.
Ω -  A nice gesture and not totally unappreciated. But you just sort of picked it up while out shopping for something else.

Masters Tickets
Yes, Masters tickets. How do you think you're golf-loving husband/dad/grandpa/son (or female equivalents) would react if they opened an envelope on Christmas morning and inside found tickets giving access to the grounds of Augusta National GC for the Masters? If it were me, I'd stand silent for a moment, let it sink in, then celebrate in a manner that might scare the kids - 'Mommy, what's the matter with Daddy?'. It is every golfer's dream to see Augusta National in the grass and attend the first major of the year, even if it is for the practice rounds. Masters tickets are prized possessions and you won't be able to go the inexpensive route by getting them direct from the club itself. That door closed long ago. But you definitely can find them on the internet. Tickets for the Monday practice round start at about $225. Tuesday's practice round is a little more expensive typically, and you should be able to find a ticket for Wednesday's Par 3 tournament for about $450. It gets even pricier as the tournament itself starts, although you should have no problem finding tickets online. Four-day competition passes usually go for about $4,500.
Price: About $225 for the Monday practice round to $4,500 or thereabouts for the four tournament rounds. Just Google 'Masters tickets' and you'll find plenty of options.
Rating: ∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑∑ etc, etc.

Glove Connection
The best swing/training aids are beautifully simple, undeniably effective and refreshingly inexpensive. The worst are clunky, complex, and require three not terribly easy payments of $39.99. The Glove Connection, conceived by Bellingham's own Joe Holdridge, definitely belongs among the first category, and I'm not just saying that because he lives a mile down the road. It's simple - two gloves with strategically-placed velcro patches. It's effective - eliminates the destructive disconnection between the hands at the top of the backswing that many amateurs are guilty of and which leads to crushing inconsistency. It's inexpensive - $29.95 + $9.95 shipping and handling.

$29.95 + $9.95 S&H (order here)
Rating: π

Emerald Gems
To be a truly great photographer, your passion for what you shoot has to border on, probably exceed, obsession. Larry Lambrecht is so obviously infatuated, bewitched and captivated by links golf courses, and those in Ireland specifically, you can feel the love pouring off all 210 pages of this glorious, not to say huge, book (well, the 162 with pictures at least). As well as Lambrecht's beautifully-composed images, 'Emerald Gems' contains the written wisdom of, among others, ten-time Walker Cup player Joe Carr, Irish golf writer Dermot Gilleece, writer and course architect Pat Ruddy, and everyone's favorite Irishman David Feherty. At 16.3 x 12.3 x 0.9 inches, it's far too big for a bookcase, and will take up quite a bit of space on your coffee table. But that space should definitely be found. First published in 2003, 'Emerald Gems' is still highly sought-after and will probably have you planning a trip to Ireland by about page 10.
Price: $95 (order on Amazon here)
Rating: µ

Tom Watson 'Lessons of a Lifetime' DVD
You've probably seen Tom Watson's 'Lessons of a Lifetime' on plenty of other Christmas gift lists, and with good reason. It's been on the shelves for eight months and is already one of the best-selling golf instructional DVDs in history (granted, the history of golf instructional DVDs doesn't extend back too far). Watson's lessons aren't necessarily any different from those a million other golfers/teachers have given through the ages, but coming from an eight-time major champion and someone who came excrutiatingly close to winning a ninth at the age of 60, they carry a little extra weight. The two-DVD set will work just fine for beginners, but those who have been playing for 50 years will find it equally useful because, unless they are one of the five players who have won more majors than Watson - Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Walter Hagen, Gary Player, and Ben Hogan (only three of whom are still alive) - there's still plenty they can learn from one of the sport's greatest players.
$49.95 (order on Amazon here)
Rating: µ

Golf Buddy
Unlike the Bushnell Tour V2 - part of BellinghamGolfer's second Christmas gift list - which uses a laser beam to calculate the distance between you and certain objects, the Golf Buddy gives you the yardages you need using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology - basically, your hand-held receiver using signals broadcast from four or more satellites to give you your exact position on the Earth. GPS units may not be quite as accurate as laser rangefinders, but they do offer several useful features the laser rangefiner can't. For a start, the full length of the hole is shown on the full-color touch screen, and your position on it constantly updated. You can maintain four players' scores, analyze your performance stats and measure how far you hit each club - that's pretty cool. And there are no activation fees or annual fees.
Price: $399.99 (order here)

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