Rather than another shirt, hand out a book, such as Ben Hogan: The Man Behind the Mystique. Better yet, for about $40 to $50 per person (with a minimum order of 100 books), bring in one of the authors for a book signing. The author might even have time to stick around and speak to the group, says Martin Davis, editor and publisher (and co-author) at The American Golfer, Greenwich, Conn. Also from the company: The Golfer's Book of Yoga, by Drew Greenland. The book ($28) shows how practicing yoga can enhance a golfer's game by developing balance, strength, flexibility, and concentration. www.theamericangolfer.com
Time is a funny thing on the course: a good game and time flies by; a bad one and the minutes drag. Either way, your players can find out the exact time with a hanging or clip-on golf watch. Corporate Golf, San Francisco, offers a variety of golf bag strap (reading straight on) or a belt loop (read upside-down) watches. Also available: divot tool and money-clip styles. Prices range from $25 to $38 for orders of 50 or more. www.corporate-golf.com
A new twist on a classic from Sun Mountain Specialties: a golf shoe bag that comes with a shoe care kit — cleaning brush, spike wrench, polishing cloth, extra laces, shoehorn, and so forth — inside. “This is one of those things that makes so much sense that you wonder why it hasn't been done all along,” says Nina Renaud, Corporate Golf. The shoe bags cost about $30. www.corporate-golf.com
The sign of a true golfer is that even everyday household items have a golf theme. But here's one fairway-inspired item she may not have: the Golf Arm Chair, from Distinctive Sports Gifts Inc. The powder-coated steel golf armchair uses actual golf club heads for feet, and the back and arm rests are club grips. $140. www.distinctivegolf.com.
A good wine is like a good golf game — beautiful and complex, with a great finish. A six-bottle wine rack from Distinctive Sports Gifts Inc. is perfect for the golfer/sommelier. The powder-coated steel wine rack uses real golf clubs for feet and gives the illusion that it's constructed from a real golf club. Also comes in a 10-bottle size. About $45. www.distinctivegolf.com
When they quaff their favorite brew, make sure they're sipping out of something you gave them. Distinctive Sports Gifts Inc., Barrie, Ontario, offers three types of drinking glasses — pilsner, wine, and martini — each with a golf ball in the stem. $12. www.distinctivegolf.com
Some days, an air-conditioned cart might make the difference between a birdie and an eagle. The BREEZeasy Portable Blower from TecScan of North Florida Inc., Gainesville, Fla., provides a blast of cool air for those hot, humid days. It comes with either a 12- or 24-volt motor and can be used on a number of golf carts. $250. www.breezeasy.com
Fun and funky is the name of the game at Johnny D. Studio, Fairfield, Conn. Award-winning illustrator John S. Dykes, whose work has appeared in Time, Businessweek, and other publications (including this issue of www.johnnydstudio.com& Incentives), created a line of classy and whimsical golf T-shirts. The line has grown to include caps, greeting cards — even bath mats. Prices range from $5 for mugs (minimum order of four) and $27 for polo shirts (minimum order of three).
Two feet of snow on the ground? No chance of knocking out a bucket of balls anytime soon? Hardly. With the Hydraulic Golf Shot Mat from Yung Pi Enterprise Co. Ltd., Taiwan, a golfer can set up an adjustable driving range in his own basement. The mat adjusts to a variety of angles and directions, so the player can shoot straight away or from a high slope. Add the Auto-Tee-Up Machine, and your golfer will never again have to bend over to tee-up a shot. Contact the company for pricing. www.hono.com.tw
Give someone the edge with GolfPS Player Software from GolfPS, LLC, Hamilton, Ind. The software uses www.golfps.compositioning technology to give the player detailed layouts of the course on his or her PDA. Users can even play a virtual practice round in the office or on the plane. Imagine figuring the distance for each shot, from the exact place the golfer is standing to the green — or anywhere else. Or collecting stroke data and reviewing the round, shot-by-shot. Users can build a database of course maps — even the local par-3. $120.
The Most Unusual Golf Gizmo Award Goes to: The Brush T
This one is sure to get doubletakes: a golf tee that complies with USGA rules with a brush for a head. The Brush-T comes in different heights to adjust to the playing field. A nylon bristle cup supports the golf ball, with the flexible bristles allowing the ball to be struck with a minimum of resistance and deflection. And it's unbreakable, so it lasts far longer than a wooden tee.
If that's not enough, it may better your game. The Brush-T was independently tested against a wooden tee at the Iron Byron mechanical testing facility in San Diego and consistently outperformed wooden products in terms of reduced spin at launch, increased distance, and reduced deviation over distance.
The Brush-T is the brainchild of Richard Crouse, a “fanatical South African golfer [who] developed a completely irrational loathing of plastic and wooden tees,” says Dominic O'Byrne, a spokesman for The Brush-T Co., West Essex, UK. Crouse and a friend were playing a round and complaining about how the wooden tees kept breaking or getting lost after a couple of strokes. Crouse thought that a tee that mimicked the feel of grass would make a better hitting tool.
“His early sketches for a bristled tee were shelved when running his business took priority,” says O'Byrne. “In 1999, Richard's son Jason, a keen golfer and a design graduate from University of the Witwatersrand [South Africa], found the sketches, revived the idea, and the rest is history.” The tees cost about $6 for a box of three. www.brush-t.com