I once had a buddy who loved to break out an old holiday-flavored saying when I or anybody else tried jump on the excuse train: “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas.”
We golfers can relate. Who among us hasn’t uttered these words or something similar …
“If that putt had broken left instead of right like it was supposed to, I’d have birdied and won the bet.”
“I thought I pulled the right club but the wind shifted the second I struck the ball.”
“If I’d gone ahead and bought that new driver when it was on sale, I’d be bombing the ball 10 yards farther right now.”
And on and on. Excuses are like tees — we’ve got plenty of them in our pockets, and if we run out, we’ll darned sure find a new batch as fast as we can.
Still, I assume that most of us manage to have a merry Christmas anyway, especially if we find a new golf gift under the tree. Whatever it is — spanking new putter or wedge, GPS device that does everything but cook breakfast, the most comfy pair of shoes yet … heck, even a 100-pack of those tees we were just looking for — we’ll tear into it with the joy of a three-year-old and immediately start dreaming of the next tee time even if there’s two feet of snow outside (those of you living in Southern California, Arizona, Florida and other southern tier locales, please keep your snickers to yourselves).
That’s why putting together our biggest Holiday Gift Guide yet, was so much fun. Not only do we get to salivate over the latest score-slashing clubs and balls, picture ourselves decked out in pro-grade finery from head to toe and test out cool training aids both well-established and hot off the production line, we appreciate the opportunity to present several dozen of them to you over 20 colorful pages. Suddenly that shopping trip you see coming down the fairway just got a whole lot easier, whether you brave the mall or wear out your clicking finger.
But what about the fine crew of teaching pros who bring so much knowledge and wisdom to the pages of Golf Tips each time out? What’s on their wish lists this year? Just for grins we thought we’d query a few.
Alison Curdt, 2015 LPGA National Teacher of the Year — “The Orange Whip Wedge would be an amazing wish to have under the tree. This training aid is the perfect solution to building great tempo in your chipping and pitching motion. It also helps people who suffer from the ‘yips’ create a more effective and smooth motion. The Orange Whip Wedge is the perfect complement to those who are wishing for a better short game this holiday season. My students have enjoyed using it so far and their wishes of better golf are coming true!” [Read our review of all Orange Whip products on page 56.]
Barry Goldstein, PGA, Inverrary Country Club, Fort Lauderdale, Florida — “All I want for Christmas is …18 more holes to play at Pebble Beach Golf Links with my daughter and I in the perfect California sun.”
John Hughes, PGA, John Hughes Golf, Orlando, Florida — “An all-in-one app for all teaching technology, making it easier for clients to access all their data and communicate with me. And more time for students to practice and enjoy the game.”
Chris Johnston, PGA, Twin Brook Golf Academy, Tinton Falls, New Jersey — “The ﬁrst present I hope to receive from the jolly old man, is a book that is not only going to help my golf, it is going to help my Health: Fit For Golf Fit For Life by Randy Myers. I am sure that I will discover some valuable exercises that I can give my students to help them become more ﬁt for golf and life. The second is a training aid called The Hanger that I know will help my students improve their swing and will help me become a better teacher. It helps keep the club face square during the swing and promotes a proper release and also gets rid of the ‘ﬂip’ through the shot.”
Brandon Stooksbury, PGA, Idle Hour Club, Macon, Georgia and author of The Wedge Book — “A trip to the Titleist Performance Institute to work directly with Bob Vokey for a wedge fitting, followed by a visit to the Scotty Cameron putting studio for a putter fitting with Scotty would pretty much be my “dream” experience. The quality of the facilities combined with the expertise of the best in the business would make for an incredible day.”
And what do I want under the tree? What all of us do, really: The promise of a new year of great shots, memorable rounds and lower scores. I’d take that over candy and nuts any day.
From all of us at Golf Tips, here’s to a healthy and happy holiday season.