2018 has been a pretty good year for golf, despite course closures all around the globe and the unfortunate trend of driver prices regularly creeping up to and past the $500 mark. There is more technology than ever out there for golfers of all abilities to get the most out of their game. Since the holiday shopping season is upon us again, here are some gift ideas for the serious golfer on your list, or yourself!
- Ping G400 – Arguably the best driver in golf, it is among the top 3 sellers and owners of one like me will be happy to tell you how good it is. Paired with a high-performance shaft from TPT Golf, I gained 9 yards and hit it straighter too. Demand for the #1 selling G400 MAX is high, with prices rising to more than $500. ($570.00 on Amazon)
- Wilson Cortex – If you watch the Golf Channel, you are probably familiar with the hit show Driver vs Driver that gave us the controversial Wilson Triton driver a few seasons ago. Driver vs Driver 2 just wrapped up and this year’s winning club is called the Wilson Cortex, and it has already hit the market. The buzz with this club is that it produces very low spin. If you are a Wilson fan and your driver is a few generations old, the Cortex is a must hit! ($498.95 on Amazon)
- Miura irons – Japanese company Miura Golf has been forging some of the best quality irons in the world for many years, and they keep getting better. Previously available only through high-end club fitters, Miura is now making custom sets available direct from the manufacturer. The new MC-501 irons have been an object of sheer lust for me since I first saw them at the PGA Show a while back. (Iron sets starting at $1350 and up)
- Putting Mirror – I’ve been using my EyeLine putting mirror for a few years now and it has helped me become more consistent on the greens. Many of the top players in the world use similar mirrors to check ball position, eye and shoulder alignment and iron out problems with their putting stroke.
- Eyeball Golf – Remember that old saying – Keep your head still? Well, the eyeball trainer can help you do that! It’s simple, easy to use and won’t break the bank. Give it a try! ($29.99 direct)
- Golf Logix – The USGA has recently weighed in on the topic of green reading charts and maps by limiting the size and scale of the books people use, but the leading app company GolfLogix is ok with that, and the typical user of their service isn’t a tournament golfer anyway. The innovative PuttBreaks feature in the Golf Logix app is easy to use and can really help you read the greens on unfamiliar courses, or even help confirm what your eyes see. (Available for free in the iTunes and Google Play store – $29.99 for 12 month Putt Breaks membership)
- Breakthrough Golf technology – Golf industry veteran and living legend Barney Adams has set his sights on making you a better putter, and Breakthrough Golf Technology’s new Stability Shaft is how he’s doing it. Guess what – It works! My putting has improved ever since I put the shaft in play, and I’m looking forward to converting a few more putters soon. (Available direct w/ free install – $199.99)
- TPT Golf – I’m a big fan of TPT golf and their innovative new shafts. Earlier this year I tested one in my Ping G400 driver and gained 9 yards. They aren’t cheap, but for demanding golfers with spare cash, TPT is the shaft you must try when you visit your custom club fitter for a new driver.
- Oakley – I’m not impressed too much with the apparel options available this year. That’s not to say there isn’t anything good out there, it’s just that nothing stands out. Nothing except Oakley that is. The Engineered Polo Bubba is a shirt I could live with almost every day, and they are super cheap right now. (Available direct – $24.00 as of 12/7/2018) Why not pair it with a slick Bg Emb Visor too? (Direct – $28.00)
- Craftsman Golf Headcovers – Why not customize the look of your golf bag and protect your clubs from theft by getting rid of the factory headcovers and replacing them with fun head covers from Craftsman Golf? I recently covered my Callaway XR16 LD Long Drive club with a funny cat head cover with a bell that drove my playing partners nuts! It was great fun. Seriously though, Craftsman Golf makes good quality stuff at very reasonable prices! (Available direct – www.craftsmangolf.com)
- Bushnell Rangefinders – Bushnell continues to make market-leading laser and GPS rangefinders. I’ve been using the awesome Pro X2 Laser Rangefinder for a while, and the perfectly sized Phantom GPS is a perfect compliment to any laser rangefinder and easily fits in your pocket. If you want the best of both worlds, consider the Bushnell Hybrid Rangefinder, that has both a precision laser rangefinder and GPS in one easy to use handheld device.
- Club Champion Fitting – Club Champion is the largest custom club fitting company in the US, and they are brand-agnostic, which means they aren’t going to push you towards a certain brand, just what works best with your golf swing. I recently had my Cobra F8+ driver upgraded with a new shaft from Paderson Golf and gained 6 yards and greatly tightened the dispersion. They have 40 indoor fitting centers all over the country, so weather isn’t an issue and there is probably one close to you. If you take the game seriously and want to play your best golf, there’s really no excuse not to get custom fit for every club in your bag.
- NoSweat Liners – It may be chilly outside now, but at some point, it’s going to warm up again outside and you’ll start sweating on the golf course. Living in Florida, the summer heat and humidity makes it impossible not to sweat profusely when playing golf. NoSweat liners install easily inside your hat and really help soak up the sweat coming from your forehead. Sometimes I sweat so much that it’s hard to putt because sweat keeps dripping on the ball! NoSweat liners fixed this problem for me, and they are used by professional golfers and many other athletes in sports like hockey and football under their helmets. If you are a sweater like me, you’ll want to give them a try! ($9.99 and up on Amazon)
- SkyCaddie SX500 – SkyCaddie has been around for as long as I can remember using such distance measuring devices, and their products are always recognized as one of the best GPS for golf, and their newest model is no exception. The SkyCaddie SX500 has a large (5″) bright screen, solid battery life and is easy to use. All SX500s come with a 1-year subscription. SkyCaddie maps all their own courses for greater accuracy, and I’ve always found their distances to be very precise when compared to a laser rangefinder. The difference is rarely more than a few yards, and for amateur golfers, this is certainly within the acceptable range. ($399.95 on Amazon)