We're another week closer to Christmas day, which means seven fewer days to shop. It's getting closer, but have you been able to scratch your favorite golfer off your list? If nothing really caught your eye last week, we've got another list of potential gift ideas that will definitely keep him or her smiling well after New Year's has come and gone.
In case you didn't catch last week's Bag Drop, we'll categorize a few items, broken down by price range, with $10 at the bottom end, up to $1000 at the top end. So let's get started!
$10 or Less
We're going to stretch this category a little bit this week, but don't worry, it's only by a few dollars. Trust me, it's worth it. Described as a "friction fit training device," the Pure Ball Striker helps the player to better feel and quantify how much pressure is being applied in their hands throughout the swing. The small device is intended to be gripped by the "trigger finger," against the grip of the club.
Discussed extensively here on our forum, the Pure Ball Striker is amazingly simple, yet helpful in understanding and feeling lag and grip pressure throughout the swing.
The concept of the Pure Ball Striker is based on the universal laws that govern each of us.
We can use the laws to our advantage by understanding them and allowing them to help direct/guide us or we can fight them, resist them, and always struggle. With the PBS on your club the struggle becomes more guided. It allows you to now sense the direction of the club and hands. It's imperative that each player has clubhead lag pressure and be able to monitor it. The PBS training device gives us, as player's the feel of being able to Load, Store, Deliver, and Release the power needed, both for distance and accuracy.Jeff Evans, Master Instructor and Creator of Pure Ball Striker
$50 or Less
Not sure if you checked, but it's ridiculously cold outside! Snow is covering a lot of the country, so I guess when domes start collapsing due to the weight of the snow, playing golf is out of the question for the most part. Of course, you can buy time on a simulator, or even install your own, but I think most of us can agree that we wont see much action until March or April. That gives you lots of time to pick up a couple of books that will probably put you well on your way to an improved game. While none of these individually hit our $50 mark, they're more than $10, and you could easily combine a couple of these, possibly along with the Pure Ball Striker, and still come in under the $50 mark!
The first is Andy Plummer and Michael Bennett's The Stack and Tilt Swing, which can be purchased for $20 here at Amazon. Honestly, it doesn't matter if you're a fan of the swing or not - there are a number of concepts, drills, and fixes that simply cannot be argued. While I won't go into loads of details here (discussion of S&T is not what this is for), I think this might be one of the most helpful, informative instruction books on the market, and if you were to surprise someone with this book, they'll likely shave a few strokes off pretty quickly (given that they read it ). Even if you don't want to adopt the entire thing, it's hard to argue that a lot of the points aren't valid when you see Tiger Woods now adopting a good chunk of it. Not wild about reading the book? See the "$100 or Less" category below.
The second on our list is The Art of the Short Game by Stan Utley, and as you can probably gather, addresses everything from 100 or so and in. If there's one big truth, it's that an excellent short game can absolutely make up for huge deficiencies elsewhere in your game. Utley addresses key components such as stance, grip, and ball position, and choosing the right club, as well as how to easily get out of any bunker. He takes a lot of the conventional short game beliefs and pretty much throws them out of the window. The book also includes a number of drills and is heavily infused with pictures that help make it easy to follow what he's teaching. The Art of the Short Game is available at Amazon for $16.50 right now.
The last book I'd recommend will probably have additional benefits aside from improvement in the recipient's game. Why sit around all winter, eating sausage and getting fat? Instead, how about you subtly encourage the golfer in your life to get into better shape?? Fix Your Body, Fix Your Swing: The Revolutionary Biomechanics Workout Program Used by Tour Pros, written by Joey Diovisalvi and Steve Steinberg, focuses on strengthening core areas important to the swing (as well as other things ) and tries to keep your workouts quick and simple. The cool thing is that the workouts shared in this book are the same as the ones Joey D puts his Tour players through. Fix Your Body, Fix Your Swing is going for $16.49 at Amazon right now.
$100 or Less
As I said, if someone's not into reading, they can head on over to Stack and Tilt .com for the DVD series featuring Plummer and Bennett. While the normal package includes four discs, now is the time to buy it, as two additional discs are included, along with the Ten Minutes to Tremendous Power ebook, and as an added bonus, they'll cover the shipping and handling. Having seen the majority of these DVDs personally, I can promise you they are well worth the cost. There isn't any portion of the swing that goes unaddressed.
Throughout the video you'll find the swing explained in increasing sophistication. It was our intent to make a video simple enough so that the lay person could improve, but sophisticated enough so that the professional could continue to expand their knowledge of the golf swing.Andy Plummer, Instructor and Co-Creator, Stack & Tilt
$250 or Less
This next gift could possibly lead to the biggest improvements in a golfer's game. We've discussed its use numerous times on the forums, and how key it is in evaluating your swing and tracking progress. That's right, I'm talking about a simple camera. It's hard to put a value on the ability to film your swing in terms of how important and useful it can be. The really cool thing about it is that you don't need a RED One to get a good capture. In fact, a lot of cheap, small point-and-shoots can adequately do the job. The key feature/spec to looking for is that it can record video at 120 fps (frames per second) or better at a reasonable resolution. While I won't go into a ton of detail here, if you'd like to read a great in-depth discussion of what to look for, see this excellent article by Erik.
What I will do is save you some time and make a couple of quick recommendations. First off, as mentioned in the linked article above, the Casio FH25 will do the job extremely well as it will record 240 fps video at a resolution of 448 x 336 and comes equipped with a very easy to use 3" viewfinder. With nearly the same specs but in a smaller package is the Casio EX-FH100. eBay is a great place to find both of these at a great price, as the FH-100 can be found brand new for around $230, while the FH-25 is going to break that $250 mark, but is still a reasonable $265.
$500 or Less
One of the keys to a successful round is going to be knowing your distances and knowing the distance to the hole, because of course, you can execute a perfect swing with the wrong club, and come up way short, or overshoot the green. Nothing worse than a great swing wasted. Some of us just don't have quite as many of those as others. So going back quite a few months, we covered a couple of different range finders that use very different technology to obtain the needed yardage. Let's briefly check out each of them.
SkyGolf's SkyCaddie SGX, which we covered here, really seems to be the cream of the crop of GPS units this year. Featuring the all new SmartClub Technology, it not only gives you distances as you'd expect, it also provides a link between the handheld unit and your clubs. Via the use of the SmartClub tags (which are small sensors inserted into the butt end of the grip) the unit is able to serve two additional functions. The first is the prevention of a lost club. If you've left a club behind, the SGX unit reminds you as you pull up to the next hole! The other main feature of SmartClub Technology is SGX Game Tracker, which, in a nutshell, maintains statistical information on the distances you hit each club, as you hit them! That information can then be uploaded to Club SG for analysis. Also note that there is a recurring membership cost which ranges in price from $19.95 per year for the basic package (which includes front, center, and back distances, software updates for a year, and ClubSG) up to the SGX Play 36 World three-year package (Includes IntelliGreen, Hazards, Carries, Layups, ClubSG, and unlimited access to worldwide courses), which will cost you $149.95 for three years. If you don't want a membership, you still receive critical software updates with registration, and you are free to map your own courses.
On the other side of the spectrum are two new laser rangefinders from industry staple Leupold. The GX-3 and GX-4 were introduced earlier this year, along with revised versions of the GX-1 and GX-2. While some features such as Prism Lock Technology and Fog Mode are included on all models, there are a number of items that set the GX-3 and GX-4 apart. For starters, both are completely weatherproof, and use multi-coated, scratch resistant lenses. The GX-3 is accurate up to 450 yards with 6x magnification. The GX-4 steps it up even further, as it includes True Golf Range, which takes into account incline, decline, temperature, and altitude, to make sure you're absolutely ready to hit each green without a doubt you selected the right club. Along those same lines is the Club Selector, which collects information from you and then recommends the proper club. All of this is enabled by Smart Key, which is the yellow face place you see in the picture below. By removing Smart Key, the GX-4 becomes completely legal for tournament play. The GX-3 and GX-4 are going for $359 and $499, respectively, though once you purchase it, that's it, no more recurring membership costs.
$1000 or Less
While last week we recommended an iron that was geared towards game improvement, this week, we shift gears to an iron in the upper echelon of players iron in the form of the Mizuno MP-63. For those of you shopping for someone else, you might wanna know the recipient plays consistently good golf before giving these. Originally covered back in mid-October, and then reviewed by George a few short weeks ago, we've given these quite a bit of attention, and justifiably so, as Mizuno's iron releases are some of the most anticipated every year.
These Grain Flow Forged irons are made out of the familiar, proven 1025E "Pure Select" mild carbon steel. New for this release is Diamond Muscle technology, which plays a big part in locating the center of gravity, and ultimately producing extreme control and workability.
Another cool feature is the concept of the progressive cavity design, which means the cavity size slightly increases progressively through the set from short irons to the harder to hit long irons. This adds a little extra degree of forgiveness where it's needed.
Outrageous Holiday Gift Idea of the Week™
This week's Outrageous Holiday Gift Idea of the Week™ comes to us from, well, there's really no telling where it originated, but somewhere in Scotland is probably a good guess. This set of wood-shafted irons has been carbon dated to roughly 1760 and is a steal at only $149,950! I'd try to do these things justice, but ultimately, I'd just fail miserably. Click the link and check them out for yourself!
Got questions, or are looking for a more immediate suggestion? Post it in the comments below, or hit us up on twitter.