CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - So you got old Dad a tie again last Father's Day. And the years of cheesy gifts, an unrewarding job, endless debt, too little sleep, thinning hair and all the other stuff guys endure finally got to him and he cracked - he took that tie and strangled the shitzu with it before announcing, "I'll be at the golf course!" and storming out the door in his boxer shorts.
So, what to do this year? Well, besides therapy, might we suggest a golf gift or three to try to make up for the tie that broke the camel's back? Here are a few recent favorites culled from the truckloads of gear we at TravelGolf.com sift through every month.
Golf shoes are not only a hell of a lot more stylish than they used to be, they're far more comfortable. And best of all, now style and comfort can be had in the same shoe and you don't have to resort to those tennis-shoe-looking things to keep your dogs happy.
Etonic's G>SOK (MSRP $100) has the classic look of a saddle shoe, with the upper comfort and sole support of a cross-trainer. The non-spike sole sports four different kinds of hard rubber nub (designed by GoodYear), which will keep hold of the turf in all but the sloppiest conditions. Fantastic walking shoes! For more info, visit the Web site at etonic.com.
For something a bit cushier, but also a bit heavier, check out the Ecco Golf Sport Tribal Accelerator (MSRP $160, eccogolf.com). This shoe features a removable, antifungal insert insole, and superior stability and arch support. I wish I could find a pair of dress shoes this comfortable! Ecco recently signed the ever-stylish Aaron Baddeley to wear their every-stylish kicks. Dad'll be styling in these, too.
Ever since Callaway bought Top-Flite, it has been working hard to try to place the Top-Flite product line somewhere neatly within the Callaway universe of products. With the success of the Callaway HX Tour ball, this has not been so easy.
The first real top-of-the-line offering under the Top-Flite name is the Top-Flite Strata TL-Tour (MSRP $30). As a devoted fan of the old Strata, I find this new offering to be very long and extremely soft around the greens. It's an excellent alternative to the ProV1 and all of its clones.
If you decide to give Dad a pair of new G>SOK shoes, why not through in a G>SOK glove as well? The glove breathes extremely well and incorporates an absorbent wrist band for all those sweaty dads. (MSRP $15).
We've all seen those mutant tees that purportedly reduce friction between the ball and the tee, cutting down on spin and reducing minor deflections that can actually, under some circumstances, make the difference between catching the edge of the fairway and hunting for your ball in the deep first cut.
A new entrant into this market is the Zero Friction Golf Tee (MSRP $10 for 50). The Zero Friction tee features three prongs upon which the ball sits, and a biodegradable material that is (supposedly) eco-friendly.
Best of all in my book, the damn things last FOREVER. I've got a 50 pack and I'm still using the first one I ever pulled out, after six rounds and several trips to the practice tee. The tee has even earned a small following on Tour. For more information visit the Web site at: zerofrictiontees.com.
Finally, you might want to think about the gift that keeps on giving: Instruction. If you can't get Dad to haul his flabby butt and banana-slice out to a real course for a real lesson, at least try the SwingSong DVD (MSRP $30). The focus here is tempo, specifically, consistent, repeatable tempo.
If your dad is like me, some swings look like he should be qualifying for the Champions Tour, while others (most others) look like he's trying to kill snakes.
Dr. Gary Wiren meshes his common-sense, psychological approach to the swing with specially composed music and video at slower, medium and faster tempos. The idea is that if you get the music and visuals in your head while you practice your swing, you'll carry those sensory memories with you on the course and maintain a consistent tempo. For more information, log on to swingsong.com.
Who knows? I shot one of my best rounds ever a few years ago while singing Duncan Sheik's "Barely Breathing" in my head the entire round. It was a nice, relaxing, rhythm.
After all. Doesn't old Dad deserve a little relaxation and stress relief? And Mom's tired of buying new shitzus.
June 16, 2005