This Father’s Day, I’m particularly reflective.
My son—the younger of my two kids—just graduated from high school, and he’ll soon make his way out of state for college. He won’t be playing golf there, but I hope he takes the work ethic embodied in the photo below with him when he goes. This was his sophomore year on the golf team, as I waited for him in the parking lot while he conscientiously completed a putting drill. It’s my favorite phot of him in 4 years on the golf team, where he played well—consistently low-man on the team in post-season play.
I guess, in the end, all that fathers can hope for is that they’ve equipped their children with sufficient life-lessons before they leave home. It’s sort of like making sure they’ve got golf balls and tees, a towel, a scorecard, and decent clubs before teeing off. This Father’s Day, return the favor and make sure your old man is equipped to handle whatever the next round – of golf or of life – has in store for him. Here are my favorite golf gifts for Dad this year.
You know what? I think I’m going to start this gift guide at the 19th Hole for a change—it’s been a rough year already. In 1979 Fuzzy Zoeller, one of golf’s biggest personalities, burst onto the scene with his surprise win at the Masters. Today, his eponymous Fuzzy’s Vodka is made from 100% American corn, five times distilled and ten times filtered, and a portion of each batch is rested in new American oak barrels. The result is crisp, smooth, and incredibly clean. In response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, Fuzzy’s is promoting the American Stallion – same ingredients as a Moscow Mule, but different name and only all-American Fuzzy’s Vodka.
Arnie and Jack: Stories of My Long Friendship with Two Remarkable Men by Charlie Mechem
Maybe the Dad in your life is feeling reflective like me, and maybe a little bit sentimental after an American Stallion or two (also like me). Roll with the mood and gift ol’ Dad a book about two of the nostalgic icons of golf, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. The author, Charlie Mechem, had a long and remarkable legal and business career that included serving as a longtime advisor to both Palmer and Nicklaus. “I was honored and privileged to know Arnie and Jack for many years as good friends and to be blessed by those relationships,” said Mechem. “My life has been greatly enriched by my friendship with these two men.” Nobody has stories like Charlie of a couple of the great “fathers” in golf. To learn more about Mr. Mechem and to learn more about the book, visit HERE.
As a golf writer, I play a lot of different courses around the world, from the Bahamas to Iceland. It’s often tricky to get a feel for a course or for certain holes never having seen them before. The SkyCaddie SX550 GPS ($400-$480) is the newest release from SkyGolf. WiFi connectivity, a 5-inch touch screen, IntelliGreen® and Holevue® technologies, with contour aof all greens for 35,000 preloaded, ground-verified, error-corrected courses. Frankly, there are too many features and functions to list here. Suffice it to say you will be able to pinpoint every shot yardage to every feature of the course and track all your shots and stats, too. The basic unit comes with a free 1-year subscription, which can be expanded to a 3-year subscription for a fraction of the cost. Totally worth it, especially if Dad plays lots of new courses or is planning a bucket-list golf trip.
GOLFFOREVER Swing Trainer and Fitness System
GOLFFOREVER is a comprehensive, customized at-home training system ($199) that takes a science-based approach to maximizing golfers’ performance by improving flexibility, core strength, balance and rotational power. Think Peloton for golf. It is the first golf-specific home training program to combine home exercise equipment with streaming instruction. Then GOLFFOREVER takes it one step further by customizing each golfer’s exercise routines just for them, based on a proprietary strength and flexibility test users take when starting. This consists of three videos and associated exercises to see where you’re at. It is used by more than 50 PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players—including World #1 Scottie Scheffler—and thousands of everyday golfers alike. For more information visit HERE. The equipment comes with a 30-day free trial of the video lessons, which cost $25/mo month-to-month or $16.58/mo billed annually.
FootJoy FUEL and Field Golf Shoes
FootJoy has redefined comfort while maintaining its spot at the top of the golf shoe pyramid. The FJ FUEL ($130) is new for 2022. Available in men’s, women’s, and junior’s sizes, the FUEL has a sneaker-inspired design that features the StratoLite foam compound. These shoes cradles your feet and weigh practically nothing. I walked 36 holes in these straight out of the box, and my feet felt fantastic. And the stability is really impressive.
If Dad is more of a traditionalist, he FJ Field ($200) is the newest addition to the FootJoy Premier Series. It was the most-worn shoe in this year’s Masters, so you know the quality is second to none. The spikeless outsole is constructed of multiple compounds to provide both traction and stability, and the OrthoLite insole is luxurious—ideal for protecting the feet of the best golfers on the planet. Doesn’t Dad deserve both timeless fashion and modern comfort?
Cole Haan ZERØGRAND Overtake Golf Shoe
Iconic shoemaker Cole Haan is expanding its golf offerings in 2022. If Dad’s footwear tastes run toward styling reminiscent of crossfit or basketball shoes, the ZERØGRAND Overtake Golf Shoe ($150) is for him. Superb traction and comfort are guaranteed, and the mesh bootie inner lining hugs your feet and wicks moisture away from them, making blisters nearly impossible. These shoes feel like a second skin.
The go-to gift: Balls
Titleist is most famous for the ProV1/V1x models, but their lower-priced balls, geared towards various amateur players, boast the same top-tier quality control and consistency. The Titleist Velocity ($30/doz) is geared toward squeezing the most distance as possible out of your long clubs while maintaining acceptable greenside feel. On the other end of the spectrum, Titleist’s softest ball is the Titleist TruFeel ($25/doz). It still generates distance, but its real strength is exquisite feel and control around the green. Finally, the Titleist AVX ($50/doz) is a 3-piece performance ball that produces low spin and low ball flight with tremendous greenside control If the ProV1 is made for pros, the AVX is for the scratch handicappers at your club.
My first review of Srixon golf balls—which appeared some 15 years ago—introduced them as the best ball whose name you can’t pronounce. Today, Srixon has become a household name amongst avid golfers between their high-quality equipment and their high-profile sponsorships on Tour. At the top of these high-profile Srixon staffers is Brooks Koepka, who plays the brand-new Z-Star Diamond ($45/doz). The Z-Star Diamond is a 3-pc Urethane ball, with high greenside spin, mid driver spin, and mid-high iron spin. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better all-around balance in a golf ball. The redesigned Q-Star ($28/doz) is a low-compression ball for higher handicap players who want all the benefits of a premium ball without the premium price tag.
Maybe the most aggressive ball marketing campaign this season has been rolled out by Bridgestone. The Tour B Series (all $50/doz) consists of four ball models, with one model in two versions. The Tour B X has been designed in consultation with Bryson DeChambeau, and he and Matt Kuchar play it on Tour. The Tour B RX is played in competition by Lexi Thompson. The Tour B RXS is played by Fred Couples. The Tour B XS was designed with input from Tiger Woods himself, and Tiger plays it in competition (well, limited competition, so far). And finally, if Dad REALLY wants to feel like Tiger when he plays, pick up a box of the limited-edition Tour B XS – TW Edition, stamped with the “TIGER” name. After Bridgestone introduced these last year, you’d see the occasional Twitter post by people who found them at their local courses and were convinced Tiger had played there!
Golf Pride CPX Grips
Golf Pride’s new CPX is the first grip completely concepted and developed at Golf Pride’s new Global Innovation Center in Pinehurst, NC. CPX, which stands for “Comfort Performance Extreme,” is constructed from a very soft and responsive rubber compound that molds to the golfer’s hands for the ultimate in comfort and stress relief. The soft and tacky material features a 45-degree diamond pattern inspired by the grips on BMX bikes. In addition, the innovative Control Core® in the grip’s end-cap complements the soft rubber compound to afford the best of both worlds: maximum softness and maximum control. I love the texture of these grips, and even though my previous grips still had some life in them, I regripped everything to take full advantage of these innovative grips.
Sun Mountain Speed Cart V1R
Give Dad the gift of more golf-related exercise with a new push cart. Sun Mountain’s Speed Cart V1R ($270) is updated for 2022. The V1R opens and closes with the flip of two levers. It has an ergonomic storage console and a headcover basket, is available in 10 different colors, folds down to W 37” X H 16” X D 13”, and weighs just under 18 lbs. When folded, the V1R is long and narrow – perhaps a bit too long for many sedan trunks, but ideal for a pick-up or SUV. And it fits perfectly in full-sized golf course lockers. This is probably the smoothest-rolling cart I’ve ever used. It feels like your bag is floating down the fairways.
There you have it – a wish-list fit for any golfing Dad. My only wish is for a few more rounds with my son before he heads off to college. So maybe find some time to play with your old man, too.