Commentary

When searching for holiday gifts for golfers, these 10 won't steer you wrong

Originally Published: November 28, 2008
By Jason Sobel | ESPN.com

Golf Pride personalized grips
Web site: http://www.golfpride.com/grips/personalized.aspx
MSRP: Starting at $59.99 per kit

Holiday Gift Guide

Trying to find that perfect gift for the sports fan in your life? We've got some answers. ESPN.com gift guide

Trust us on this one: Your golf clubs need new grips. They're usually the most overlooked part of any amateur's equipment, but you can't swing the club right without being able to hold on the proper way. For years, the foremost excuse for neglecting grips was that it was simply too costly and painstaking to lug the entire set to the nearest pro shop and have 'em all redone. Enter the newest product from Golf Pride, which not only leaves the process in your hands, but personalizes the experience as well. This kit supplies 13 grips with your name, nickname, company or, well, anything you'd like embedded into them, while also allowing for everything you need to do the job at home. With four models available (Tour Wrap, Tour Velvet, DD2 and New Decade MultiCompound) there's now no excuse to keep those old grips -- you know, the ones that came with your set and are indistinguishable from everyone else's -- lingering on each club in the bag.

Nike Golf Victory Red forged wedge
Web site: http://www.nike.com/nikegolf/victoryred/
MSRP: $129.99
His ball nestled in the greenside rough on the 17th hole at Torrey Pines' South Course during the third round of the U.S. Open, Tiger Woods stood over the shot, swung and watched it take one bounce and hop right into the cup -- part of a six-hole stretch that could be considered one of the greatest rallies of his career. His weapon of choice on that shot? None other than a brand new Victory Red 60-degree wedge. Featuring high rev grooves, 1025 forged carbon steel, versatile heel grind, CNC-milled face and Victory Red grip, the club helped launch Woods' historic run at a 14th major championship title. OK, so it may not do the same for you, but if the Victory wedge means even a minor victory in your pursuit of golf success, isn't it worth adding to your arsenal?

"2008-2011 Golf Rules Quick Reference" by Yves C. Ton-That
Web site: www.golfrulesmadeeasy.com
MSRP: $9.95
If your opponent hits a tee shot from in front of the given markers on a hole, it's a two-stroke penalty ... uh, right? If he accidentally hits the ball during a practice swing, there's no penalty stroke ... or is there? Wonder no more. Golf isn't just a game of rules, it's a game of Rules -- and unless you're a USGA official, it's tough to remember 'em all. Enter this 48-page pocket-sized book, complete with 170 illustrations -- one for every listed scenario. It's idiot-proof, too. With eight color-coded tabs, it won't take 30 minutes to figure out the proper ruling on the course. More good news: This guide's high-gloss finish ensures it is still valuable for weather-infused rounds. So leave that guessing game to the other foursomes on the course. Playing by the rules has never been this easy.

adidas TOUR360 3.0 golf shoes
Web site: http://www.adidasgolf.com/tour360-3/
MSRP: $180
We could tell you how these shoes feature a 360WRAP that helps secure upper stability with a glove-like fit and increased leverage, or how the external molded heel cup enhances power transfer to the pedals with secure heel-fit systems, or how the revolutionary THiNTech TPU exoskeleton provides unrivaled stability, response, feedback and power. Or we could just tell you that the latest version of the TOUR360 is the coolest-looking golf shoe on the market. Let the technology mavens at adidas golf worry about how it works. All you need to know is that these recent breakthroughs do work -- in terms of comfort, feel and style.

The Dipper golf ball retriever
Web site: www.dippergolf.com
MSRP: $12.95 each
There is no place for pessimism in golf. As one ancient proverb states, "Man with extra ball in pocket is destined to lose first ball." Of course, that doesn't mean you can't be prepared for the worst, either. Nothing says, "I'm not very confident in my abilities" like an oversized ball retriever protruding from your bag, so instead clip on The Dipper -- a seven-inch, three-ounce gadget that snaps onto the end of your club's shaft and extends to over 12 inches. From there, just dip the club into whatever hazard your ball mistakenly found and -- voila! -- the potentially irretrievable orb is yours once again. Best of all, with such a compact device, optimism always reigns supreme.

LIJA women's clothing line
Web site: http://www.lijastyle.com/
MSRP: Polos from $65; outerwear from $135
You're either a woman, you know a woman or you enjoy dressing like a ... well, let's just stick to the first two. The new LIJA line by designer Linda Hipp features nearly 200 pieces, giving any woman a variety of styles for on the course or off. Inspired by "the glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age and American spirit of the 1950s," this collection is highlighted by such diverse colors as "daiquiri" and "espresso." And here's a tip for the fellas out there: If you want your wife or girlfriend to join you on the links, you've got a better chance if she has something nice to wear for the occasion. With these duds from LIJA, she may never want to leave.

TaylorMade MyTP golf balls
Web site: http://www.taylormadegolf.com/category.asp?catID=62
MSRP: $39.99/dozen (three dozen minimum)
What number is on your golf ball? No longer must we rely on the randomness of whichever one falls out of the sleeve -- it's now a matter of choice. From Sergio Garcia (who plays "00" because "I think it's cool and I like the way it looks on the ball," he said) to Justin Rose ("99" since his wife's lucky number is nine and he's hoping for twice the luck), pros and amateurs alike are choosing more non-traditional numerals for their pellets, thanks to TaylorMade's MyTP program. Whether it's a birthday, anniversary or -- like El Nino -- you just think a certain number is cool, the company is currently taking custom orders for any double-digit numeral your heart desires, ensuring you'll never be a slave to the sleeve again.

Bushnell Tour V2 rangefinder
Web site: www.bushnellgolf.com
MSRP: $349
Bad news, big hitters: According to the Tour V2 manual, "The maximum distance for most objects is 600 yards." Of course, for those of us mortals who max out at, oh, 599 or less on our drives, this rangefinder is more accurate than any marked sprinkler head and quicker than any caddie. Don't believe us? Ask the pros, as studies have shown that 93 percent of PGA Tour, LPGA and Champions Tour players prefer Bushnell products when preparing for competitive rounds. Using "PinSeeker" technology and various other unique characteristics, the Tour V2 will never leave you wondering about a yardage distance again.

Q-Link bracelets and pendants
Web site: www.qlinkgolf.com
MSRP: Bracelets from $129.95; pendants from $99.95
More than ever, it's becoming difficult to find a tour pro who doesn't regularly wear a bracelet or pendant (hanging on a necklace) -- and more often than not, these are Q-Link products. Since the line by Clarus was first introduced on tour in 1999, more than 350 players worldwide have been first-hand witnesses to the game-enhancing benefits of SRT-3 technology. Studies have shown these benefits include greater energy and stamina, increased ability to focus under pressure, enhanced feeling of calm, reduction in symptoms of the yips, faster recovery from bad shots and fewer first-tee jitters. If none of those applies to you, well, congrats. For the rest of us, it's time to check out Q-Link's line of three bracelets and three pendants.

Piretti fine putters
Web site: http://www.pirettigolf.com/putters.html
MSRP: $275
There are putters ... and then there are "fine" putters. Consider the Piretti line in the latter category. In a sport fueled by luxury, these flatsticks -- milled from carbon steel or stainless steel, depending on the model -- are akin to ordering the filet mignon over the top sirloin. Started by two friends just over a year ago, the Piretti company doesn't boast a large variety of options, but what they do produce, they produce better than most. The most appealing part is that each putter has a personalized feel, as customers can choose length, grip and paint fill, with each one made to those specifications. And, hey, there's an out clause, too: If you're unsatisfied with your purchase for any reason, return it within 30 days for either a full refund or exchange. Sounds like a win-win proposition to us.

Jason Sobel is a golf writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn3.com.

Jason Sobel | email

Golf Editor, ESPN.com
Jason Sobel, who joined ESPN in 1997, earned four Sports Emmy awards as a member of ESPN's Studio Production department. He became ESPN.com's golf editor in July 2004.