In the few years I've been writing about golf, I haven't really thought about a Holiday Golf Gift Guide. But when companies started asking me this season to include their products in my guide, two things came to mind.
First, I guess it's time I have a Holiday Gift Guide. But also second, why not feature the best clubs, clothes, and accessories I've played, worn, used, and reviewed this year as gift ideas.
As you know, I'll never write a review on gear I don't like, don't use, and am not able to thoroughly test just because a company has new product they want to send me. I'm grateful you trust my opinion, and it may sound corny, but I hold your trust in the highest regard.
So here's my first ever Holiday Golf Gift Guide, an unfiltered, unbiased lineup of gifts that also happen to make my "Gear of the Year" for 2015. And I'm positive everyone on your list will love to see some of these under their trees or in their stockings.
Wilson Golf DUO and DUO Spin Golf Balls
Wilson Golf DUO and DUO Spin Golf Balls
It's no secret the Wilson DUO and DUO Spin are two of my favorite golf balls. You see them in my equipment reviews, see me playing them of course, and I can't begin to tell you how many of my friends have switched to either of these balls after I gave them one to hit during a round.
If you've never hit a DUO golf ball, I can almost guarantee you'll get at least another three to five yards more than the ball you're currently using. The DUO is one of the easiest ways to get back distance you've lost, or just add extra distance if you want more. And the DUO Spin is nearly identical to the DUO in terms of distance, but also spins more for those delicate shots around the green. Wilson Golf.
Piretti Bosa Putter
Piretti putters are the best performing putters on the market not enough people know about. It's rare for any putter to be the complete package, but the Piretti Bosa strokes your soul. It has it all: feel, roll, and balance are exceptional.
Milled from a single block of steel, distance control and consistency is nearly fool-proof. And the Bosa supermodel good looks? That just makes sinking more putts all the more satisfying. Piretti Golf.
Ben Hogan FT. WORTH 15 Irons and TK Wedges
I can't say enough good things about the Ben Hogan FT. WORTH 15 irons and TK wedges. Featuring classic appearance, world-class forged feel, and unmatched consistency, I'm positive these would be in the bags of many Tour pros if the the pay-to-play model didn't exist on Tour.
Trajectory control and shot shaping are paramount with the Hogans, but don't be fooled into thinking these are only for low-handicap players. There's a ton of game-improvement technology packed into them as well. And with the Hogans now available in retail stores like the PGA Superstore and Carl's Golfland, I'm willing to bet if you give them a demo, you won't want to leave the store without them. Ben Hogan Golf.
Wilson Golf FG Tour V4 Irons and FG Tour TC Wedges
Oozing better player looks and feel, with a healthy dose of forgiveness and playability, the FG Tour V4 irons blur the line between players irons and game-improvement irons, and are the kind of irons you never get rid of.
And the FG Tour TC wedges are so accurate and easy to hit, you'll be firing at more flags instead of just looking to hit greens. It's almost like cheating. They truly do everything you could ask from your irons and wedges, with an unmistakable Wilson forged feel. And that, as they say, is that. Wilson Golf.
The Fujikura Speeder Evolution, Speeder PRO, and SIX shafts were hands-down the best performing shafts of the year for me. I played the Evolution with a Titleist 915 D2 driver, the PRO with a Cobra Fly-Z+ driver, and the SIX with a TaylorMade R15 driver, and in all instances, the Fujikuras outperformed the stock shafts that came with those drivers.
As a starting point, if you're a strong hitter, look to the Evolution. If you're a smooth swinger, check out the PRO. And average swing speeds should opt for the SIX. We all have different abilities and swing tendencies, but the one thing all Fujikura shafts have in common is they'll help you dial in longer, more accurate drives. And don't be surprised if you even launch a few nukes off the tee. Fujikura Golf.
Cobra Golf Fly-Z+ Driver
Cobra has a new driver out, the King LTD, but I haven't tested that enough to give an opinion one way or another. I can however recommend the Cobra Fly-Z+ until I'm blue in the face, because for combined distance and forgiveness, it was the best driver I hit all year.
The CG adjustability for more carry or more roll really works. And with this being new release season, you can grab the Fly-Z+ for a fraction of what it cost earlier this year. If you think bashing drives right down the middle of the fairway is the best part of golf, the Fly-Z+ driver should definitely be in your bag. Cobra Golf.
Rukket Portable Driving Range
I didn't think it was possible, but the Rukket Portable Driving Range golf net has made me even more addicted to golf. As if I didn't play enough, now I'm practicing in the back yard, hitting balls in the middle of the night, and will set it up in my garage over the winter when I go stir crazy looking out the window at three feet of snow.
I've had the net for months now, and it looks as good as it did the first time I set it up. No rips, no wear. You can go King Kong on it with your driver and not worry about balls screaming through thanks to tough, five-ply netting. Standing a sizable seven-feet tall by 10-feet wide, with an automatic ball return, it's easy to put up, just as easy to take down, and even comes with a tri-turf hitting mat and chipping target. Absolutely the best golf net I've ever used. Rukket Golf.
Game-Inglove is a training aid that delivers immediate visual feedback throughout your entire swing by using a laser projection from the back of the glove. And being able to see and feel your swing plane, approach into the ball, and face at impact will not only teach you how to cure problem shots like slices and hooks, but also teach you how to execute specialty shots like draws and fades.
You don't need a textbook golf swing to hit great golf shots. Look at Jim Furyk's swing, even Jordan Spieth bends his elbows at the top. What matters is figuring out how to square the face at impact with your own unique swing. And Game-Inglove can help anyone learn to do this, making it of the most effective training aids on the market for both beginners and accomplished players alike. Game-Inglove.
If your clubs could talk, they’ll thank you. Cru Golf hand-crafted, premium leather headcovers exude personality. They're rugged, think bomber jacket for your clubs. They're stunning, second looks mandatory. They're protective, a body guard unlike any other. They reveal. They conceal. They’re a symbol of absolute satisfaction and owning the absolute best. Can you tell I'm a little excited about these?
You can personalize Cru headcovers with just about any style, design, logo, and phrase you can imagine. And starting at $39 and up, they’re also very affordable. Or as the Cru Golf president likes to say, “affordable luxury.” Easily one of my favorite accessories of all time. CRU Golf.
Sunice Kern Flexvent and Carleton Zephal Rain Jackets
Rain and wind gear is basically a survival kit for your golf game. You hope you never need them, but sooner or later you always will. And you’ll be hard pressed to find better than the Sunice Flexvent and Zephal jackets. Sure to please even the most discriminating golfers, the Flexvent and Zephal do a fantastic job repelling moderate to heavy rain, and even prolonged rainfall won't saturate the fabrics.
I won't say they're completely waterproof. You’ll probably get plenty wet playing in a tsunami or hurricane. But if you're playing in those conditions you should probably be more worried about saving your life than keeping dry on the course. Stylish, comfortable, and reliable, both jackets are great in the howling wind, great in the pouring rain. And though ideal for fall and winter, they're breathable enough to wear on warmer spring and cooler summer days as well. Two big thumbs up for both of these jackets. Sunice Golf.
Devereux Brunner Polo
If Arnold Palmer was in his prime today, I'm positive he'd be wearing the Devereux Golf Brunner Polo. The Brunner is a traditional looking polo, with a modern edge to it, feels luxurious, and hearkens back to the days when strict attention to fit and finish still mattered.
Too many golf shirts these days look more like something you'd wear to a Halloween party than the golf course. But the retro-cool Brunner is timeless, with solid, simple colors, cut perfectly to the body. The kind of shirt that pays tribute to the history of our game. And I'll take a shirt like that over obnoxious fashion trends every time. Devereux Golf.
ECCO Tour Hybrid Wingtip Golf Shoes
The ECCO Tour Hybrid Wingtips are all about classic design and exquisite comfort. I can't tell you how they perform in the rain, because they're too damn good looking to get mud all over. But in normal conditions, they're my go-to spikeless shoes.
Amazingly comfortable right out of the box, the traction bars are as beautiful an execution of spikeless design you'll find anywhere, and the rich leather is both durable and breathable. There's something really special about a stable, good fitting pair of golf shoes, and these almost feel like they were custom made just for you. ECCO Golf.
FootJoy HyperFlex BOA Golf Shoes
When I first started wearing the Footjoy Hyperflex BOAs, countless people came up to me on the course asking where I got them. They were a big hit, and it's not surprising we saw them used by tons of players this year on Tour.
The most comfortable spiked golf shoes of the many I tried this season, with a BOA lacing system as cool at it is practical. And it nearly feels like they put you in a proper golf stance as soon as you try them on. Athletic looking, performance-inspired, craftsmanship for your feet, these won't be going back into the closet anytime soon. Footjoy Golf.
I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season. And as always, if you have any questions about anything, feel free to shoot me an email here or a direct message on twitter @PGAPappas.