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Mother's Day golf gifts for the rest of us

By Jennifer Mario, Contributor

They appear every Christmastime, as sure as mall Santas: The many articles alternately cheering and jeering Christmas golf gifts.

Mother's Day Mario
Forget the kitschy "golf baskets," get your duffing mom a tee time and a babysitter.
Mother's Day MarioPersonalizedBalls

A golf sno-globe! How cheesy! Or this: a putting-green board game! Who would ever want such a thing? Ha ha!

Well, I'm here to tell you, Christmas ain't got nothin' on Mother's Day. On Mother's Day, you have kitsch of the worst variety, compounded by the fact that marketers have no concept of what women actually like.

What do women want, according to these ad wizards? Puppies and babies, apparently.

Take the "personalized novelty golf balls" offered up as a Mother's Day option for women golfers at Gifts.com. "From classic to humorous, we'll professionally imprint Any Photo you choose!" The featured photos on the ad? Puppies and babies.

If it works for mugs and mouse pads, it'll work for golf balls, right? Slap a picture of a baby on it and a woman will buy anything.

The marketers actually aren't that far off. Women do like puppies and babies. They just don't want to go around a golf course using their new 460cc driver to whack puppies and babies in the face.

How about: "We'll professionally imprint a photo of your boss/the politician you didn't vote for/that creepy guy at work who lunches at Hooters a little too often"? That might get some takers.

Not only that but the balls offered are Top-Flites, for heaven's sake. Babies or no babies, at least give your woman some Titleists.

Another popular item I've noticed as I snoop around golf shops and online stores is the "golf basket." One includes a cleverly decorated range-ball bucket featuring golf-ball-shaped lollipops, lots of curly ribbon and the ubiquitous sleeve of Top-Flites.

Gifts.com did get one thing right: To help you narrow down your choices, they ask you to consider the personality profile of your giftee. You select from among a list of types. There's "The Achiever," the high-powered, hard-driving executive, and "The Adventurer," the woman who scales the Himalayas on long weekends.

Or maybe she's "The Country Clubber," a muffette who spends her mornings at tennis lessons, afternoons at the salon and evenings at charity galas. Or "The Super Mom," the PTA president who hand-packs the kids' sandwiches by 5:30 a.m. before leading the carpool on field trips at the museum.

So yes, if the golfing mother in your life is Donna Reed or Martha Stewart, Gifts.com may have the answer for you. I happen to know a few of each of these personality types, so I know perfection can be achieved.

But there's an even larger subset of women that Gifts.com ignores. That's the "barely keeps her head above water."

She's been known to forget to pick up her kids at school, can't remember the last time all the rooms in her house were clean at the same time and wouldn't mind a higher-paying job but fears it would interfere too much in her life. She doesn't waste time trying to be perfect because frankly, perfection is overrated.

If I sound like I'm familiar with this type, there's a reason.

Mother's Day golf gift ideas

How does one shop for this brand of golfing mom? Were I to create one of those gift baskets it would include all or at least some of the following:

• A gift certificate to a major golf store (think Golf Galaxy), because this type of women is frugal but enjoys new golf outfits and equipment updates as much as the next person.

• A sleeve of ProVIs or perhaps the new Callaway Pearls, because new balls are great as long as they're not Top-Flites.

• A tee time, because though this woman loves to play golf, making arrangements in advance isn't her strong suit. For the same reason, be sure to book a babysitter.

• New gloves and a handful of tees, because those kinds of things disappear in the depths of her golf bag with alarming regularity.

• And, finally, a spa treatment, because Lord knows, being imperfect is quite stressful. And also, I'm secretly hoping my husband will read this column, and I could really use a massage.

There, is that so hard? No puppies, no babies, no lollipops, no kitsch in sight. You can skip the fancy range bucket and the curly ribbon, by the way. The last thing this kind of woman needs is more clutter.

Jennifer MarioJennifer Mario, Contributor

Jennifer Mario is a regular contributor to the TravelGolf Network and the author of "Michelle Wie: The Making of a Champion" (St. Martin's Griffin, 2006). A graduate of Duke University, she lives in the Triangle area of North Carolina with her family.

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