Make no mistake, I, for one, appreciate the thought. I am very reluctant to discourage the impulse. They are the ones, after all, who love you and want you to be happy.
That they might have been slow to catch on that golf is the most important thing in your life (and still might not realize that a round of golf doesn’t really take 10 hours), well, better late than never.
So, therefore, in their dawning recognition of golf’s place in your world, they might have, in all good intentions, thought that gadgets and gimmicks and googaws are just the things you really, really need to make your golf experience complete.
If so, the golf gifts you got for Christmas are sure to be useless and not funny and not even suitable for the back shelf in the darkest corner behind the shot glass collection in your man cave (which, I’m told, is a phrase that is officially on the outs with lexicographers).
If so, you have clearly not had The Conversation. The one that begins, “Honey, I love you, but …" and goes on to say that, gee, hon, I really appreciate that you gave me a golf gift, but in the future …
However delicately you phrase it, what you need to get across is this: Go big or not at all.
On the off-chance your loved one intuited you badly need an upgrade in your irons, first you can hope they didn’t see that killer deal at Costco. Second, if you were truly frank and honest in The Conversation, your loved one might have picked up on two words that are music to the ears of a serious golfer:
If so, you might right about now be getting around to spending it. With a really big number (four figures, anyone?), you could get a new set of irons and the hybrids and wedges to match. The Razr X irons by Callaway and the Ping G20s are getting a lot of buzz, and anything TaylorMade, I’m told, is flying off the racks.
And remember that hot new set from last year? Like, say, the G15s. This year, you can still find 'em new at a reputable golf shop, and it will cost hundreds of dollars less than this year’s latest and greatest. And watch for specials … paying less is no sin.
Anybody savvy enough to have had The Conversation would know that custom-fitting that new set is an absolute must. You might be tall or short, and your clubs need to reflect that, and the off-the-shelf lie angle might not be just right for your precisely calibrated golf swing.
(That you need to be on the lookout, especially online, for counterfeit clubs that are damnably hard to tell apart from legitimate brand-name clubs is a subject for another column.)
If you’re happy with your current clubs, a mid-range certificate, say, $500, could get a smart-shopping guy a top-shelf rainsuit, or a new push-cart, and maybe have room for a pair of Footjoys and a couple-three dozen golf balls of his choice.
Smaller denominations, well, you can certainly find something useful and handy that you might not get around to owning if you were spending your own money.
So OK: If you’ve had The Conversation, and your loved one blessed you with a gift certificate, well, that gives them a little grace, because they love you and want you to be happy, if they also kick in a trinket or two.
And they will be hopeless, of course, for use in an actual game of golf, but you won’t mind putting them front and center on a shelf (even if it’s out of anyone’s actual line of sight) in your man cave … if I might be allowed to call it that.