Countdown to Christmas . . .

Seasons greetings, all _ apologies for the radio silence of late, but the recent barrage of non-stop news, combined with a poorly timed golf sojourn in more southern climes, have been conspiring against me.

If you’re like me, that means it’s a safe bet you still have a fair bit of Christmas shopping to do _ and the fellows in your usual foursome are probably on your still-to-buy-for list. Or perhaps you have a significant other who’s still casting about for ideas for what to get his or her resident golf fanatic.

Either way, as the shopping-days-til-Christmas countdown enters the single digits, here are a few gift ideas to kick around for the golfer who has everything.

Golf Pride Personalized Grip Kit – starting at $59.99 US

For the golfer who has everything, consider the latest in personalized accessories from Golf Pride _ grips emblazoned with everything from a person’s name to Hot Stuff or You’re Pressed or whatever pointless swing thought you can muster.

Grips available for personalization range from the basic Tour Wrap and Tour Velvet models through the red or yellow DD2s and the hot New Decade Multicompound versions, although, sadly, only in red and blue.

It appears _ for the moment, at least _ that the personalization option is only available in the U.S., and that only standard-sized grips are available for personalization. With a little finesse, of course, an extra wrap of tape or two under the grip can always help to fill up those oversized meat hooks of yours.

Each kit comes complete with 13 grips, as well as an instructional CD-ROM and everything else needed to install them short of a tabletop vise. And take it from me: it’s so easy, you’ll be stunned you never bothered to do it before.

One caveat: by the time you read this, it might be too late to get grips personalized before Christmas. But let’s be honest _ if you are reading this, you’re reading it for yourself, so it’s a safe bet you’ll be buying these with your own name on them after the holidays.

And if you’re reading this from the north of the border, a few well-placed email blasts from Canadian servers should convince the folks at Golf Pride to start shipping beyond the U.S.

TaylorMade Custom-Number Golf Balls – $60 dozen

Veteran Gear Head readers will know we here at the oak-panelled GH headquarters got pretty excited earlier this year when TMAG announced plans to let its devoted customers order golf balls printed with their own one or two-digit numbers, only to have our bubble burst when we were told the service was only available in the U.S.

At the time, TaylorMade said the service would likely be rolled out in Canada by Christmas. The GH research team will be out in force in the coming days to determine whether, in fact, Canadian consumers can avail themselves of the service. In the meantime, we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Scotty Cameron Personalized Ball Tool _ $44 US

First off, understand that the latest Scotty Cameron gizmo _ a cleverly shaped ball marker engraved with a collection of lines, fuel-gauge style, to help in aligning your ball on the green _ works best when you’re already in the practice of putting an alignment line on your ball.

But if your golfer is desperate for anything that might help sink an extra putt or two, Scotty’s newest gadget is a good bet _ and the man himself is now willing to stamp it with a couple of initials for nothing.

Here’s how it works: Place the marker behind your ball, then read the putt. Once you have a starting line picked out, match the alignment line or brand name on the ball to the line on the marker that matches the chosen starting line.

Order a new marker by phone and Cameron will stamp that sucker with two letters or numbers at no extra charge. The offer only lasts until Thursday, Dec. 18, and applies only to phone-in orders, four markers per caller.

Dial the Custom Shop at 1-866-841-0100 and get yours “ er, your gift for that special golfer on your list.

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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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