The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 8, 2012

GOODWIN: Buying gifts for golfers is easy

If you’re a golfer or a golf widow or widower, Christmas doesn’t have to be a season of wondering or worrying about what to buy your spouse or special friend.

All you have to do is use a little imagination and conjure up visions in your head of putters, drivers, golf balls or some other perfect gift of the sport.

Golfers love golf gifts.

I know. I’m a golf nut who loves to play the game, watch the game, read about the game and write about the game.

Finding a present for me is a snap for my family. All they have to do is visit a pro shop or golf store and look for anything that I might find interesting or that I might need.

Golf balls, for example, are always a good choice. Those that I place in my bag before each round have a tendency to never get old. They disappear into lakes, woods, underbrush and out of bounds.

Also, I never seem to have tees in my golf bag. Or if I need a short tee for an iron shot, I only have long ones. If I want a long tee for a drive, all I can find are short ones. And tees, like golf balls, tend to vanish in batches.

As for putters, drivers and irons, all of which make great presents at Christmas, I suggest that you consult with the potential recipient before making a purchase. You might get the wrong brand, wrong length, wrong loft or lie or wrong shaft flex. You might even get grips that are too large or too small.

Talk it over with the individual that you plan to surprise on Christmas morning. Better yet, take him to the pro shop or golf shop and let him pick out what he wants.

Another possibility is to make certain that the place where you are purchasing the clubs will agree to accept them in exchange for other clubs if you make a mistake.

My personal preference for a golf gift is one that keeps on giving: a series of lessons.

One lesson can help, of course, but it likely will be merely a Band-Aid placed over whatever is wrong with your swing.

I could spend thousands of dollars on new irons, new drivers, new fairway clubs and large, colorful golf bags, all of which might, if I’m lucky, make me look like a professional on the first tee. But when I make a swing, such thoughts quickly will be dispelled.

Until the 1940s or maybe even earlier, teaching usually meant watching low-handicap players or PGA pros and trying to copy them.

Most of us who struggle week in, week out with our games got our starts by taking advice from friends and fellow golfers who were either mistaken in their approach or didn’t know golf’s jargon of golf sufficiently to make themselves understood.

Nothing can replace the knowledge of how the swing works augmented by professional competence in explaining the important points. If you don’t want to go that route this Christmas, you can always go for golf balls and tees.

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