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What Did You Get (Yourself) for Father’s Day?

So, Dad, what did you get? Hand-painted necktie? Tool belt? Birdhouse?

Good for you. After all, when it comes to Father’s Day gifts, it’s the thought that counts, and nothing else. Now let’s talk about what you’re going to get for yourself.

Seriously – if ever there was an occasion custom-made for the I-deserve-this trip to Golf Town, Father’s Day is it. And if the aforementioned family gift happens to be a gift card to said golf retailer, so much the better.
Herewith, some suggestions on how to spend it.

Ecco spikeless golf shoes

Finally - some street-smart style for the fairways, courtesy of Ecco.$190If you're interested in going spikeless on the course but can't pull off the Kikkor Golf skate-shoe look or the cross-trainer style of Tiger Woods's new Nikes, then Danish shoemaker Ecco's line of golf-street hybrids might be worth a closer look.

$190 Cdn

Ecco has a wide range of spikeless shoes that run the gamut of styles, but the Golf Street line allows a player to go from the street to the golf course and even to the office (wearing anything short of a business suit) without sacrificing style, comfort, or on-course traction, all without changing shoes.

A serious player might appreciate the convenience of not having to change shoes before or after a round, but the true measure of a golf shoe is how it performs on the course. The Golf Streets have a low-profile sole, thanks to the absence of spike sockets, allowing for an easier weight shift through the ball with exceptional traction for a spikeless shoe. And they’re ultra-light and comfortable to boot, although the European sizing system proves a bit unfamiliar, so make sure you try before you buy.

The Golf Street delivers surprisingly good grip in all conditions, although they probably wouldn’t be a first choice on a rainy day or an otherwise sloppy course. But the sole pattern — dozens of smallish, bullet-hard pegs that cover the entire surface — dig into the turf exceptionally well, and they stand up beautifully to an entire day spent exploring the concrete jungle on foot.

Being a bit of a traditionalist, I’ve always been skeptical of spikeless street-style shoes. But the combination of a surprisingly stable golf-swing platform, combined with a shoe that works as well with jeans as it does on the greens, has made me a convert.

Sun Mountain KG:2 carry bag

Sun Mountain's feature-rich KG:2 carry bag, in the appetizing Yam shade.

MSRP $200 US

In case you haven’t been paying attention over the last 10 years or so, Sun Mountain has emerged as a market leader when it comes to reliable, feature-laden golf bags, be they of the carry or cart variety. The latest offering, the superlight KG2, is well-equipped to lead the Montana-based empire in 2012.

When it comes to bells and whistles borne of forethought and the needs of everyday golfers, the KG2 is unparalleled. Brimming with why-didn’t-they-think-of-that-before goodies. the bag features full-length club dividers to keep grips from binding at the bottom of the bag (argh), a hand-hold at the base of the ball compartment, and three (!) different grab-handles around the wide, easy-to-access top and eight different pockets — including one for your cell phone, which has fast become a must-have piece of equipment on the golf course if you’re the GPS type.

It’s designed for the walker, with a comfortable, easy-to-adjust five-piece shoulder strap system and a thoughtful pad where the bag rests against the lower back. Happily, Sun Mountain has long since done away with the waist belt to take the burden off the shoulders, but the bag nonetheless distributes its weight nicely across the entire upper body when both shoulder straps are in use. Despite being a carry bag, the KG:2 features a cart-friendly bottom, and a stand system that deploys quickly and effortlessly when placed at an angle.

The best golf bags are the ones that provide access, convenience and comfort when you need it, but get the hell out of the way when you don’t. Sun Mountain has consistently made the most problem-free bags on the market, and the KG:2 is no exception. It’s hardly a surprise, then, that they swept the medals in Golf Digest’s 2012 Golf Bag Hot List, with the KG:2 leading the charge.

Rulegolf rulefourteen Invisibrush Golf Towel

The stylish "rulefourteen" golf towel/scrub brush hybrid from rulegolf.

$25 US
If you’re a fastidious sort of Dad who likes to have clean clubs, dry hands and a sweat-free face during those heady summer rounds, you no doubt have been searching for a golf towel that would allow you to keep your clubs clean while not constantly searching for a dirt-free corner of your towel to keep the rest of yourself clean, too. Consider, then, the interesting double-sided approach of Rulegolf’s “rulefourteen” golf towel.

One side of the “Invisibrush” towel is a soft microfibre cloth towel, suitable for wiping your hands and face. The other side is a coarse, “scrubber-brush” surface designed to scour the face of your clubs, digging into the grooves to clean out mud and gunk between shots. It’s no replacement for a proper stiff-bristled brush, but in the absence of same, the rulefourteen towel might be just the ticket.

It’s available in a 20-by-40-inch “player’s size,” as well as a smaller version that hooks to one’s golf bag. But a forewarning about the larger version: the stiffness of the scrubber side makes the towel a bit more rigid, which I’ve found makes it more likely than a traditional towel to fall off a carry bag, especially when wearing the bag horizontally across one’s back. Make sure it’s nestled safely between your clubs before beginning your walk, because there’s no loop or hook mechanism to ensure it stays securely in place.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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