Holiday Gift Guide 2022: The Best Golf Gifts For Your Favorite Golfer

If you have a golfer on your holiday gift list, it makes sense to give them something great for golf. That means something other than actual golf clubs, which are too personalized and custom to give as gifts. No drivers, no putters, but plenty of other great choices, so I’ve rounded up the best golf gear in lots of categories that you can give your favorite golfer this holiday season, at lots of price points.

Better Bag: Every golfer uses a bag, and hands down, Sun Mountain makes the best golf bags on the market, and decades ago they invented the now industry standard stand bag with automatic legs. I’ve carried a Sun Mountain for 20-plus years now, and their bags are amazing. Whenever I upgrade, I give my old one away because I’ve never worn one out, and I play way more golf than the average person and usually carry, which means a lot more wear and tear. They have tons of models, and you can’t go wrong, but all new for 2023 is the WeatherMax Stand Bag ($360) and WeatherMax Cart Bag ($440). It’s an unfortunate fact of life that golfers sometimes play in the rain, but oddly, almost no golf bags are actually designed to get wet. WeatherMax bags are highly water resistant and highly UV resistant, and UV fades and weakens the fabrics most bags are made of. So, whether your favorite golfer plays in Scottish downpours or the bright Arizona sun, whether they walk or ride, there is a bag for them.

Luxe Shoes: Everyone who golfs wears shoes, and the trend has moved away from traditional wingtip style golf shoes and towards golf sneakers, but these come in two very distinct styles. First were skate style shoes, which are extremely comfortable, neat, clean and can pass as good-looking shoes off the course. Then came models based on running shoes, which are horrifically ugly on and off the course, and nobody should wear these. If your favorite golfer has even the slightest sense of style, you want to go with the former, and in terms of style, it is hard to beat the new lineup of made-to-order golf sneakers from Beckett Simonon. The fashion-forward Argentinean footwear company has a direct-to-consumer model where every shoe (they also have lots of dress shoes) is made to order by artisans so they have no inventory or wasted distribution, and they pass the savings on to consumers, while using the highest quality eco-friendly materials, natural waxes, water-based solvents and dyes, and full-grain gold rated leather from top Italian and Argentinian tanneries. Your lucky gift recipient no longer has to pack two pairs of shoes for golf. These are great looking and would be at home in a Roman trattoria, but are packed with golf-specific features, an advanced level of traction and insoles made from dual-density EVA, which adapt to your footprint and create a custom-like footbed. The outer soles feature Vibram’s Cityplus compound, providing excellent traction on-course but are also soft and flexible enough to wear anywhere, effortlessly. ($179)

The Best Laser: Despite the proliferation of golf GPS devices, I still carry a laser, and so do all the better golfers I know. When it comes time to get the actual distance to the flag, on any hole but especially on par-3s, it’s still the most accurate way to go, because GPS never knows where the daily pin placement is, and that can vary by one to three full clubs. Likewise for precise hazard layup or carry distances. That’s why PGA Tour pros map courses with lasers, and there’s a really good reason why more than 98% of them use a Bushnell, the dominant laser rangefinder brand. I’ve used a Bushnell for as long as I can remember, but there’s never been a better or more sophisticated model than the new flagship Pro X3, released just two months ago. If the golfer on your list appreciates the latest and greatest, this is the way to go. I could not believe how easy it was to lock on to the flag compared to older models. It also updates its Slope with Elements technology with Adjustable Home Elevation to reflect the compensated distances based on the elevation where they play their most golf. It has 600-yard range, 7x magnification and all the other time-tested Bushnell best-in-class technologies, including a dual display based on light conditions and integrated magnetic cart mount so it is always handy. It is also fully waterproof (IPX7). Earlier this year when GolfPass.com, the site of NBC’s Golf Channel, did its Best 2022 Rangefinder critique, the X3 hadn’t been released but for the previous top of the line XE wrote, “Bushnell has outdone itself… It’s best-in-class when it comes to yardage, accuracy and consistency…It feels like it will last forever.” The X3 is even better. ($600)

Better Scores: There is no gift a golfer wants more this year (any year!) than to play better and score lower. The easiest way to do that is with a high-tech custom fitting and clubs that actually fit their swing and improve their game. I always strongly caution against giving clubs as gifts, but you can give customization for perfectly fit clubs, which is another story entirely. I’ve written extensively on custom club fitting for more than two decades, and during that time technology has improved a lot, and I’ve never seen a better approach than the one used by nationwide fitting chain Club Champion. Each of their facilities (all over the nation) has the best-in-class computer analysis (Trackman, SAM Putt Lab, etc) and skilled personnel, but most of all, an incredible array of irons, woods, drivers, wedges and putters from all major brands (and some minor ones) with a system of quick release interchangeable heads and shafts. When you swing, the computer analyzes every aspect and recommends changes in clubs, which can be setup and tested in real life immediately. I could go on for pages, but the reality is that most golfers buy off the rack clubs, and off the rack clubs fit almost no one. There are many different aspects of the clubs that need to be modified to fit you, from lie angle to loft to shaft stiffness to kick point to length and so on – not to mention the very real performance differences between brands. When you give a Club Champion gift card you allow your favorite golfer to go through the fitting process and see what changes they need, while learning a lot about their swing and why their game is the way it is. You can do any amount you want, and to give an idea, a putter fitting runs $125, a diver flitting $175 and a full bag fitting $400. That’s just for the process. If you feel extra generous, anything more you put on the card can go towards clubs, and a full set can easily run three or four grand. So, whatever you want to spend, from $125 up, will be a gift well used.

Better Rain Gear: High-tech outdoor active fabrics keep getting better and better, and lots of companies make golf clothing that will keep you dry and comfy. But the element many of them miss is fit. That’s what led the founder of Galway Bay to make fitted, better looking rain suits so you look good no matter what the weather, and play well with a more athletic fit that allows for natural unrestricted movement. I have a lot of top shelf rain suits from well-respected brands, but since I got one from Galway Bay, the others have stayed in the closet. They live up to the company’s motto, “Just because the weather changes, doesn’t mean your swing has to.” The company’s Hydro-Flex 32 high-performance outerwear is 100% waterproof with maximum breathability, but also highly stretchable and soft, expertly tailored to allow flexibility without hampering your swing. Galway Bay makes vests, pants, pullovers, short sleeve models, lined winter wear and more, but for easy Holiday Gift Shopping they have created two discounted but very complete combo packs. The Players Pack includes a long sleeve rain jacket, rain pants, crewneck base layer, quarter zip neck layering piece and thermal arm sleeves, a $715 value for $499. The Cold Weather Pack has lined cold weather rain jacket, lined cold weather pants, layering quarter zip, and crewneck base layer, a $736 value, also $499.

Better Style: Does the golfer in your life need more style? Three decades ago, visionary John Ashworth reinvented the golf clothing industry by combining high-performance materials with classic good looks under his eponymous Ashworth label. That was sold, and now he is back with LinkSoul, meant to bring soul and style back to an industry that has become tech fabric obsessed. In sharp contrast, LinkSoul sources the best and softest cotton fabrics to get the kind of drape synthetics can’t match, so you look good, and the result is golf lifestyle clothing that works just as well off the course. The big trend right now is lifestyle golf clothing for more than just golf and Linksoul is at the forefront of that – personally, I wear my LinkSoul shirts more for general travel than playing golf because I like them so much and don’t want to get them dirty. They have a large collection of sharp, comfy pants, shorts, shirts, and weatherproof outerwear, but what I really think is special and different from everything else out there is their oxford polos with button down collars, a little bit of extra flair and pizazz in an otherwise traditional golf shirt.

Better Water Bottle: Most carry bags (like the Sun Mountain models above) have an outside water bottle pocket. Most golf push carts have a bottle or cup holder, and so do all motorized golf carts. But oddly, none of these is typically designed for the larger, insulated, reusable water bottles that have become common off the course, and instead, are meant for a more streamlined cycling-style bottle. As an avid cyclist I’ve long wondered why no one makes a good, insulated water bottle in that shape and size (there are some plastic ones but they don’t work well). Well, now someone does, and that someone is Bivo. The Bivo Trio is a 100% recyclable stainless steel double walled vacuum bottle that will keep ice and water cold on the course, with a silicone coated anti-slip exterior and high-flow sports nozzle. The only plastic part is the lid, and that is heavy duty and BPA/BPS/BPF free. Unlike some fashion metal bottles with narrow necks, the lid is large enough to easily add ice. It’s simply a better bottle in a golf-friendly size, but still holds a generous 21-ounces. Since golf means four hours or so outdoors, often in hot weather, staying hydrated is vital. ($49)

The Fairway Flask: High Camp makes some the best flasks in the world, and their 375 Model has proven so popular with golfers, they’ve taken to calling it the “Fairway Flask.” It makes an extra-special gift because they offer custom laser engraving through the website that is quick and easy. These rock-solid metal models are virtually indestructible, fit easily in a golf bag, and have a lot of style. The cover is a generous size tumbler for sipping like a civilized person rather than chugging from the flask, and is magnetized to make closing it almost automatic. It fits a golf cart drink holder and holds a half a bottle of your favorite spirit (375ml), enough for even the most fun rounds. The entire thing is constructed of 18/8 surgical steel, has a no drip lip, is insulated (hot or cold) and unlike so many poorly designed flasks, does not require an annoying funnel to refill. It comes in four really nice colors, including a classy copper finish. ($85 or $109 engraved)

Play Longer: GolfForever is a swing trainer that works for warming up, training and fitness, and does it all easily and with video streaming instruction. Ever since Scottie Scheffler started using it and then ran off a string of wins that moved him all the way up to Number One in the world, the golf public has gone mad for it. After winning the 2022 Masters he said, “It’s been an unbelievable ride these past few months and part of my success is no doubt due to the hard work I’ve put in with GolfForever. It’s a tool and approach that is critical to my preparation for the PGA Tour, and I respect Golfforever’s mission of helping all golfers improve their bodies and play their best with the same scientific approach as mine.” The trainer combines asymmetrical weight training with the golf swing and instruction to help the golfer’s body play longer in life. It improves flexibility, balance, speed and core strength, and packs up easily for travel. ($199)

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