From clubs to clothes to tech: Golf Advisor's holiday gift guide

The holidays and cool weather that accompany them make it a great time to reload your favorite golfer's stash of balls, books, clubs, clothes -- even the possibility of a winter golf trip.

From technology to gift cards, the Golf Advisor staff -- Brandon Tucker, Mike Bailey, Jason Scott Deegan and equipment guru Kiel Christianson -- have come up with some of their top holiday gift ideas for golfers (they've initialed the gifts they've suggested below), so keep this handy when you're shopping during Black Friday or Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday -- when you're out at the very last minute with the rest of us.

We hope you can find something below for the golfer(s) in your life.

Bluetooth and GPS apps

The beauty about buying GPS or rangefinders as a gift is that there is a price point for virtually everything, while they're also a little less feel-oriented than clubs, which most golfers probably want to hit first.

On the cheaper, more nimble side, you can start with GPS app downloads, which can provide flyovers and GPS technology for a low price. Wearables such as the Apple Watch stand to be a hot item again this holiday season, and if you've got it on good authority, a golfer has or will be receiving an Apple or Android watch. Get them the GolfNow app ($29.99), which features GPS to 30,000 courses around the world. You can use the watch to keep score, track stats and play games with competitors.

Or, if you'd rather buy the accessory, you can choose between GPS devices, including watches, or you can go with the laser rangefinder. What's the difference? We chronicled two very different products, the Skycaddie Linx golf watch from SkyGolf and the Nikon Coolshot 40i, in this GPS vs. Rangefinder story.

These days, having a GPS or rangefinder is a practical necessity for serious golfers, and right behind it is the bluetooth speaker. The Beacon, from Extreme 18, has a water-resistant, shock-proof silicone shell, so it can take more of a beating than your usual portable speaker. It was also designed to fit into the cup holder of a golf cart and has 15 hours of battery life. The female voice that alerts the user of being on and synced has a kind of overly suggestive tone, so I don't know if I'd buy this for a young cousin. This seems like a product aimed at the buddies trip. -- BT

Golf apparel

I collected a nice bounty of Nike Golf stuff while visiting a Nike custom-club-fitting center at Sea Island, the site of the newly named RSM Classic. I'd recommend any of it, except, ironically, the sneaker-like, non-traditional golf shoes. Even after several months of use, they were still too rigid and less comfortable than the streets shoes I favor from Ecco and TRUE Linkswear.

Nike's casual golf wear -- a hoodie, t-shirt and lightweight wind pullover -- are all in my regular fashion rotation. As expected, the various golf shirts and pair of black pants I got are the same high-quality gear that looks so good on Tiger and Rory. -- JSD

Carnoustie Sportswear's motto is "Elegant Style, Timeless Appeal," and its polos, sweaters, shorts and slacks all look like they've been expertly tailored specifically for you. Classic colors and patterns are paired with top-notch quality. -- KC

What makes the Nexbelt ($40-50) appealing as a gift is that it's a nicely priced, once-size-fits-all system (simply cut the belt to your waist size). No holes and no mis-fitting. -- BT

Not every golfer lives in southern California, but we should feel a connection to the story at the municipal Goat Hill Park golf course. You can give the gift of helping out this re-emerging facility and get a really sharp, high-quality shirt in the process. $58 donation gets you free shipping in the U.S. -- BT


A photo posted by Matt Ginella (@matt_ginella) on

Game improvement

Using the weightless sensors attached to the end of each club, Arccos Golf delivers critical data to a free iPhone app that tracks distances hit, club averages, driving accuracy, greens in regulation, sand saves, putts and more. My old smart phone didn't have enough battery power to handle full rounds, but my new one does. I can't wait to start finding out how far my clubs actually go and discover patterns to shore up weaknesses. -- JSD

The Optishot2 Golf Simulator is a swing monitor and golf simulator that fits in a backpack. Sixteen high-speed sensors track every club in your bag as you hit foam balls and play simulated rounds on dozens of computerized courses. You can even compete against friends remotely via the Internet on Optishot Live. If you're looking for the ultimate gift for a tech-savvy golfer with the winter blues, this is it! -- KC

Golf books

I dove into a trio of golf-travel books this year, all breezy reads that might help you decide where you want to play next: "Confessions of a Golfaholic (Playing America's Top 100 Public Courses)" by Paul Laubach (, "Driving The Green: An Irish Golfing Adventure" by Kevin Markham ( and "From Turnberry to Tasmania: Adventures of a Traveling Golfer" by John Steinbreder. -- JSD

David Leadbetter's new book, "The A Swing" is his first in a decade. It's a simple approach, doable by most golfers and pretty easy to understand. The "A," by the way, stands for "Alternative," so it's not the same old stuff, but you won't confuse it with other crazy alternative methods. Tested over a wide variety of players, Leadbetter says the A Swing requires minimal practice ( -- MB

Golf equipment

This is a big-ticket item, but the new 716 AP2 irons from Titleist are all the rage among better players since their recent release. These are players' clubs, but they are the most forgiving version of the AP2s Titleist has ever offered. Plus, since they're forged, they have plenty of feel ($168 per club). Be sure to get custom-fitted first, though. -- MB

Perfect for high handicappers, but not as embarrassing as carrying the old Alien wedge, Cleveland Golf offers its new Smart Sole 2.0 Wedges. The C Wedge, with its wider and forgiving sole, helps eliminate chunks, while the big bounce S Wedge ensures golfers will get out of the bunker every time. It retails for $109. -- MB

If you're a fan of Sun Mountain's ClubGlider travel covers, you'll love the luggage line that follows the same concept. The travel covers have retractable wheel-frames and easy-glide wheels that make pulling your clubs thought the airport almost effortless. The ClubGlider Suitcase offers the same ease of use as the golf travel bag thanks to the extendable leg that supports 100 percent of the weight and then simply retracts away for travel. The ClubGlider Carry-On coordinates with the suitcase. Both pieces are available now at $349.99. -- MB

Sure, everyone likes to play ProV1/x balls, but it hurts to plunk a $45/doz. golf ball into a lake -- again. If you're a fan of the Titleist brand and want soft feel around the greens combined with exceptional distance off the tee, the new Titleist DT TruSoft ($24/doz.) is for you. Average players will likely not be able to tell any difference between these and ProV1/x, other than the price. -- KC

If you're not quite sure exactly which club to buy someone, you could always set them up with the experience of a club-fitting session instead. There are a variety of ways you can get a fit these days. I received a fitting at Callaway headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif., during a San Diego golf trip. Otherwise, many golf clubs and stores such as GolfSmith offer fittings that are interchangeable with brands, and your fee -- usually $49-$149 -- is waived with a club or set purchase. -- BT

Gift cards for golf

GolfNow gift cards are available in any amount between $10-$500 and can be e-mailed as gifts to anyone you choose. They never expire and are good towards the purchase of hot deals and transaction fees at any GolfNow partner course. -- BT

With a variety of price points, you can get a Troon Card for the favorite golfer on your list, which will save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. Available for twosomes and foursomes, the cards start at $85, offering a variety of benefits and discounts to dozens of Troon-managed courses throughout North America, Mexico and the Caribbean. -- MB

TopGolf e-gift cards are a great way to introduce newbies to the game in a fun and stress-free environment. They are customizable and good for anything at TopGolf, from hitting time to lessons to food and drinks. -- BT

Golf-travel packages

Kiawah Island is back with its "Golf or Gourmet" package that has earned legendary acclaim from budget travelers. Yes, it requires a little luck from the weather gods, but you can stay and play at a five-star, oceanfront resort and play Kiawah's Ocean Course, host of the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup, plus any of their other four courses, for just $200/night. -- BT

The Pete Dye Signature Golf Package at Sea Pines affords the chance to play two recently reopened Dye designs at The Sea Pines Resort, along with experiencing the two brand new, luxurious clubhouses while staying in villa accommodations. Winter rates are as low as $223 per person and include all sorts of extras including free afternoon replays and a forecaddie. -- BT

If you want a little more reliable winter weather, head to the Southwest. Golf junkies should check out La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA West, where you can play unlimited golf at PGA West, a veritable mecca, plus stay at five-star, Waldorf Astoria-brand La Quinta Resort & Club for $259 (single)-$359/night and a $25 resort credit. -- BT

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From clubs to clothes to tech: Golf Advisor's holiday gift guide
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