Select the best the holidays have to offer

November, 18, 2009

Birth. Golf. Death.
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You're a golfer. You enjoy showing the world your love for the links, but don't always want to dress like, well, a golfer. Then the unique style of B.G.D. is for you.

A golf company that specializes in an off-course clothing collection, this is the perfect product for hanging at the 19th hole without playing the other 18. Featuring T-shirts that read, "Golf. Masochism At Its Finest" and "When I die, I'm playing the fairway to heaven," the company offers a much-needed jolt of fun into your hobby. And just in case you have an urgent need to hit the links, no need to worry. Polos and outerwear are available, too.

One more thing for B.G.D.: If readers use the online coupon code "ESPNGG" they will receive a 15 percent discount.

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59 Belt

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Every golfer wears a belt to cinch his slacks, but it seems only the most elite -- and self-confident -- players accent their waist apparel with a pertinent buckle, too. Until now.

Currently used by such pros as Mike Weir and Paula Creamer, and affiliated with the likes of Pebble Beach Golf Links, 59 is a luxury golf brand based around quality. The company's belts are available in a variety of colors, but it's the buckles that really impress. Specializing in customization that features initials, personal designs or company logos, each buckle is individually machine-milled from solid stainless steel. And they're not just for top pros anymore.

Callaway X Series JAWS Wedges
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Honestly, we're not sure which is cooler: The fact these wedges are equipped with what Callaway calls "Mack Daddy grooves" or that such a component was inspired by short game master Phil Mickelson. Either way, the triple net precision forging leads to maximum shot-stopping spin ... which in turn leads to increased scoring accuracy.

Oh, and the name "JAWS" wasn't just chosen at random. You've been yelling for your ball to bite for years, but with these clubs, it will finally start listening. Just ask the company's Mack Daddy himself, as Mickelson "grooved" his way to four victories this past season.

Titleist Footjoy MyJoys and Pro V1s
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You ask the guy at the deli counter to slice your roast beef thin. You choose the car wash with undercoating, but not the polish. Point is, the world is all about customization these days, so why continue to buy the same golf spikes and balls as everyone else?

The MyJoys program offers 16 different shoes which can be produced in your preference of leather and color, with logos and personalized stitching also part of the process. As if that wasn't enough, every NFL and MLB team is available, along with many colleges. Meanwhile, customers may create a unique message on Pro V1s and the company's other golf balls with up to three lines of text and four colors. Through the end of the year, all customization charges will be waived.

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Golf Tee Ornament
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Fore the Love of Golf Christmas Tees
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Still decorating the annual tree with those same austere ornaments that have been passed down for generations? Time to spruce things up, with Christmas tees for your Christmas tree.

With a look similar to icicles hanging on the branches, these tees bring a golf theme to the festiveness -- just, uh, don't use 'em for golf unless you're prepared for a speech from Mom about playing ball in the house. A package of 25 comes in a resealable plastic bag and retails for $9.95. And the best part? You can finally leave those old hand-me-downs in the attic.

Ian Poulter Design
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Whew. For a few decades there, professional golfers were caught in white-shirt/khaki-pants mode, each often sized big enough to smuggle a few small children inside the ropes, too. Thankfully, form-fitting, colorful clothes are now de rigueur once again, and though Ian Poulter may not have single-handedly spearheaded the movement, he does serve as its most prominent poster boy.

Dressing for success, however, shouldn't be limited to the professional levels. The latest product line from Poulter's personal design company offers bold, stylish shirts and brazen, plaid slacks that look and feel great on or off the course, meaning you can leave the ultra-boring duds back in the 1990s -- where they belong.

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Triumph: Nice Cup in Bra
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Breaking news, fellas: The best part of removing a bra may no longer be getting to see what's underneath. Triumph has released this undergarment, which ... wait for it ... can be rolled out and used as a putting mat. Designed for "Japan's busy golfing women" -- although "busty golfing women" may enjoy this, too -- disrobing has, well, never led to, uh, so much fun.

As if a bra-turned-putting mat wasn't enough, there's this: It features pockets for extra golf balls and tees, a detachable flag pin and when the user sinks a putt into one of the cups, a built-in speaker pumps out a congratulatory, "Nice shot!" Indeed.

"Secrets of the Short Game," by Phil Mickelson
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When just having fun and not grinding it out on the back nine of a major championship, Phil Mickelson has been known to place a golf ball on an uphill lie, open up the club face, swing as hard as possible ... and hit the ball backward, right over his head.

You may not learn such tricks in his latest instructional book -- which was released on video earlier this year -- but other aspects of Mickelson's short-game mastery are certainly on display here, as the left-hander blends science (proper mechanics and setup) and art (imagination and feel) to give readers further insight into how to get the ball closer to the hole from 50 yards and in.

Nike Victory Red irons
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Lucas Glover won this year's U.S. Open ... and promptly switched to the Victory Red irons afterward. Stewart Cink won this year's British Open ... and is in the process of doing the exact same thing.

You don't have to be a major champion to reap the benefits of these clubs, though. Nike is offering customers the ability to mix and match between blades, split cavity and full cavity to make up an entire set, which means average-to-low handicappers can retain the feel of their more lofted clubs while going with something more forgiving on the longer irons. Hey, if they're good enough for a pair of major winners, they're good enough for you, right?

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Tired of rifling through the golf bag in hopes of finding an old Sharpie to mark your ball with a half-inch line or your initials? Golfdotz offers a variety of fun alternatives with its line of durable golf ball tattoos. Included in the collection are -- deep breath -- shamrocks, flames, hearts, flowers, cats, dogs, targets, bombs, skulls, aliens, scorpions, dollar signs, stars and more.

And now, "more" also includes the "Sabbatini dragon," a personal design of PGA Tour pro Rory Sabbatini, who calls Golfdotz "the most unique and interesting method of identifying a golf ball I've seen." At a suggested retail price of $5.99 per two dozen, these make for the perfect stocking stuffer.

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Daphnes Head Covers

Daphne's Head Covers
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There's been one constant confidante throughout the entirety of Tiger Woods' career -- and it's not swing instructor Hank Haney or caddie Steve Williams.

No, the guy who has been inside the ropes with Woods for nearly every round is Frank -- his ubiquitous tiger headcover that fits snuggly around his driver.

Frank and dozens of other unique characters were born at Daphne's, which for the first time ever is featuring a talking animal. No matter how well or poorly you're swinging that driver, a dog which asks, "Did somebody step on a duck?" is always sure to brighten up a day on the course.

Rife putters
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It only makes sense that in today's economy, purchasing another putter when the one currently in the bag isn't technically broken has to be considered a luxury that many golfers can't afford. Or maybe they can, thanks to Rife.

With its 460 Mid Blade and 400 Mid Mallet models, the company is giving consumers a chance to buy a new flatstick without breaking the bank, as each of these are priced at $99.80. They may be inexpensive, but they're not cheap. Rife putters are considered top of the line, meaning you'll be able to attack the greens while saving plenty of green, too.

Under Armour
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We must protect this ... clubhouse! This company founded in 1996 is better known for its football collection, but got into the golf game two years ago, bringing much of the same tactics to the links.

We could get into all sorts of specifics about the technologically advanced enhancements and improved material of this line, but here's everything you need to know: Under Armour gear keeps golfers cool when it's hot and warm when it's cold. Simple as that. From its stableford vest to the torque polo to the forged plaid shorts, UA employs a football mentality that blends with golf style. On-course huddle is optional.

Scratch Golf
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Everything you need to know about this Chattanooga, Tenn.-based boutique iron and wedge producer can be summed up in the actions of PGA Tour pro Ryan Moore. Long known as the only "logo-free" player in the big leagues, Moore had plenty of opportunities to align himself with major club manufacturers over the past few years, but instead chose to keep his options open, sampling models from various companies.

Until recently, that is, when the Wyndham Championship winner signed with Scratch Golf because he decided that they made the highest quality equipment of everything he had checked out. Not a bad strategy, either. It may be too difficult for the average amateur player to play the game with so many different brands, so take Moore's word for it on this one.

The UroClub
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Tired of scurrying off to find a tree mid-round while your playing partners apply that old, "Working on your short game?" joke? Put UroClub in the bag and never leave the action again. Billed as "the only club in your bag guaranteed to keep you out of the woods," this device is exactly what it sounds like, allowing golfers to relieve themselves without anyone being the wiser.

Simply unscrew the triple-seal, leak-proof cap, clip the privacy towel to your belt or waistband and let the trickle-down effect of your 15th club commence. And that's no joke.

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Golf bag
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Here's an experiment we don't recommend: Sneak into any PGA Tour parking lot, pop open the trunks of every courtesy car and check out which travel bags are being lugged around by the top professionals.

On second thought, save yourself the trouble, as a recent Darrell Survey showed that more than 90 percent of these players use Club Glove. Toting their sticks all over the world, these guys understand this product line employs a unique leverage system to create a perfect center of gravity, letting travelers stroll effortlessly with their luggage. Check out the Train Reaction or Last Bag for their extreme durability -- and, uh, stay away from the courtesy cars.

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Ever wonder what happens to your fresh new golf ball when you tee it up and shank it out of play? Knetgolf -- the world's largest combined recycler and refinisher of premium, pre-owned, brand-name golf balls -- recovers golf balls from more than 2,000 exclusive golf resorts in the Southwest and puts them through a proprietary, leading-edge cleansing process to ensure top condition.

The refurbished "one-hit-wonder" Titleist, Callaway and Nike balls are then offered at half price or better directly to the golfing public. You'll hardly be alone in taking advantage of this opportunity, either; the company expects to sell more than 20 million balls in 2009.

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John Daly is a Fathead. No, that's not an insult to the two-time major champion; it's simply the truth. The wildly popular brand of life-size wall decals has branched out to the world of golf, with the sport's everyman serving as its initial subject.

Whether you're watching him crush 330-yard drives or listening to him croon on one of his country albums, Long John's Fathead makes for the perfect companion -- and hey, it's much easier to put up than wallpaper. Between now and the end of the year, enter code "ESPN" and receive a 15 percent discount for online orders.

Not a Daly fan? No worries. The company will soon be producing likenesses of other professional golfers, too.

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You may feel like smooth-swinging Ernie Els on the driving range, but trust us: You look like slap-chopping Charles Barkley. For many hackers, taking lessons from a pro seems like a daunting -- and potentially embarrassing -- proposition.

Enter SwingCzar. Through the company, golfers can record their swings on anything from high-powered video cameras to those on phones, then upload for analysis from a PGA instructor. A single swing analysis costs just $24.95 while a set of three -- through which you can be critiqued on your improvement -- runs $69.95. There's no guarantee that you'll resemble the Big Easy afterward, but you will look a lot less like Sir Charles.

Pink Putter
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The game of golf may be two parts talent, one part karma, but such allocations are reversed on the greens, where divine intervention can often determine whether or not the ball finds its intended target.

So how can a player increase the karma? Start by wielding the Pink Putter. Proceeds from purchases of this flatstick go toward funding breast cancer research, but it's hardly a novelty act. The club's arrow-shaped design aids alignment and its heel-to-toe weighting system disperses weight away from the center of the instrument. The putter itself is good enough to help find the bottom of the cup more often, but hey -- a little positive karma never hurt, either.

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Golf Bag

Keri Golf
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Seeking the perfect gift for the woman who has everything? Look no further than the latest collection from keri golf. The golf bags offer specialized pockets for balls, cell phones and wallets, insulated storage space for snacks/drinks, external tee holders, gold-plated hardware and personalized monogramming alongside detachable zip bags and mirrors in coordinated fabric frames.

But most importantly, the sleek external designs mean she'll be the most stylish player in her foursome. And if she's not a golfer? No problem, as keri has introduced a bucket tote and shuttle duffle that are just as appropriate for a night on the town as a day at the course.

Bag Boy
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While walking the golf course is a tradition of the game, pushing your clubs around the course is becoming a new trend, thanks to the growth of the innovative three-wheel push cart.

From resort courses to public facilities to prestigious private clubs, "pushing" around the course has become a fun and health conscious alternative to riding in a cart and/or carrying a bag ... and no, we're not talking about dad's old rickety pull cart! Recent studies by medical experts reveal that by pushing clubs around a course, a golfer will burn more than 1,400 calories compared to riding in a cart, which uses only about 800 calories.

Back 9
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First things first: Back 9's ultra-sleek logo is exactly what it purports to be -- the backward numeral sandwiched by a pair of stars. But you don't need to be playing the back nine holes -- or even a full 18 -- to appreciate the fit and look of these lids.

Dubbing itself a "golf lifestyle brand" because the company aims to serve golfers and non-golfers alike, Back 9 is launching its "Signature Collection" of headwear this holiday season. With a more authentic and vintage feel to this latest collection, expect to turn a lot of hatless heads in your direction. And when they ask about the logo? Tell 'em it's just what they think it is.

Musselburgh Links
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Historians uncovered the earliest record of golf being played on any surviving golf course from an account book of Sir John Foulis, who wrote that the earliest game contested on Musselburgh Links took place on March 2, 1672, where he documents "he lost at golfe at Musselburgh ... 3.05.0."

And yet, the game may have been played here much earlier, as Mary Queen of Scots is believed to have teed it up in 1567 and club officials believe its origins "are probably in the 12th or 13th century." Now you can share part of this history, as the Edinburgh, Scotland-based course is offering one-year associate memberships for a discounted cost, which includes full access to the historic clubhouse for the member and guests, handicap administration and the opportunity to play, plus many other special gifts.

Jason Sobel is a golf writer for He can be reached at

Jason Sobel | email

ESPN Senior Writer




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