The Last-Minute-Do-It-Yourself-Not-So-Subtle Christmas Wish List

All right, gentlemen — there’s only a few shopping days left before Christmas, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve left everything to the last minute. That’s OK – there’s no shame in procrastination. But being the selfless, generous soul that you are has no doubt left you little time for dropping unsubtle hints about what you’d like to find under the tree for yourself.

At the Infallible Test, we’re here to help.

Welcome to the Infallible Test’s first annual Infallible Christmas Golf Gift Hint Guide, the only tool you need to make sure that there’s a worthwhile piece of golf goodness waiting for you on the morning of Dec. 25. Using it is simplicity itself: there’s a direct, generic message to the principal gift-giver in your life, be it a parent, spouse or sibling, to be absolutely certain that they get the message about what you’re after.

This late stage of the game is the perfect time to drop a gift-hint bomb, when people are panicking about what to get and fretting about what they’ve already bought. The week before Christmas is the time when people make their last-minute panic purchases, and they usually go overboard to compensate for the guilt they’re feeling. The iron is hot — it’s time to strike.

Follow the simple instructions below, and you too might be slipping on a pair of Ecco’s latest premium golf shoes or a high-tech golf shirt from Antigua or Fairway & Greene on the big day. And not only will you have a choice gift item, but you’ll also have an excuse to slip out in the afternoon and go hit some balls.


1. Print several copies of this post.

2. Leave printouts in locations where loved one sure to see it, such as on printer, between pages of House and Home or Cosmo, by bedside, in bathroom.

Dear Loved One or Significant Other:

The golfer in your family has made available to you the following article in order to argue on his behalf for a golf-related gift that not only will he enjoy receiving, but that you can also appreciate yourself as a forward-thinking, fashion-conscious person.

Rather than ask for some overpriced, soulless piece of high-tech golf equipment that you yourself probably can’t appreciate, your loved one has thoughtfully chosen to recommend some golf apparel items that you’ll enjoy picking out almost as much as he’ll enjoy wearing them.

He wants you to know that he’s seen you looking askance at him as he leaves the house for a round of golf in his chartreuse double-XL  polo from Old Navy and those beat-up 15-year-old golf shoes, and feels your shame. He understands that even on the golf course, he represents your marriage/family/relationship. In other word, when he looks bad, you look bad.

So consider this your opportunity to have a say in how he looks on the golf course. The following items are on his Christmas wish list, for the reasons outlined below. On his behalf, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and also urge you to get shopping.

With much love,

The Infallible Testers

ECCO Classic Golf Shoes

Coffee and cognac, together at last: the Ecco Men's Classic GTX.

If your husband/father/brother is anything like most guys, he probably buys a cheap pair of golf shoes every couple of years and then plays them into the ground, refusing on principle to swap out the spikes very often and treating them, by and large, like a typical pair of athletic shoes. After all, shoes are shoes, right?

Not on the golf course, they’re not.

Sometimes it’s hard to justify laying out the clams that are called for by a premium pair of shoes. Consider, though, how much walking a golfer does on the course, and also how vital a golfer’s connection to the ground is over the course of a golf swing, and suddenly the notion of cheap, uncomfortable shoes doesn’t make any sense at all.

Enter Denmark-based Ecco, a relatively recent premium-brand entry into the golf shoe market that’s made a tremendous name for itself in just a few short years. Names like Fred Couples, Thomas Bjorn, Aaron Baddeley and Stuart Appleby are among the professional names wearing Ecco shows on the course, and their choices range from the top-of-the-line World Class model ($450) to the decidedly unconventional Golf Street shoe, a $180 spikeless sneaker design that’s likely to appeal to the more casual, comfort-minded player.

For review purposes, IT opted to split the difference and go for the Classic, a traditional saddle shoe design that’s usually gettable online for around $200 plus shipping, although it lists on the Ecco website at $280. It’s a shoe brimming with high-tech innovations and smart ideas, like a microfibre heel grip to prevent slipping and blisters, a breathable liner and a well thought-out sole pattern that delivers remarkable traction.

Job 1 with Ecco shoes is to get the fit right. Being of European origin, the sizing is a bit different than it might be for a more conventional North American brand. Our first pair had to go back; sized for an 11, they were just too darn small. So whatever your recipient’s foot size is, add one for good measure when converting from the European sizes.

When Ecco shoes fit properly, they fit like a glove. Just looking at them makes it clear that they’re not shaped like ordinary, run-of-the-mill golf shoes. Wearing them on the golf course is akin to wearing a thick, fortified sock with cleats underneath. Where other shoes feel like platforms strapped under one’s feet, and often feel like they can inhibit the all-important weight shift to the front foot through impact, the Eccos don’t produce that same effect. Rolling over on to the left ankle is never a problem. They fit firmly and snugly, and never once feel loose or poorly fitted.

Most players will agree that over the course of a five-hour round, comfort is the key consideration — a shoe might look great and grip the ground like a Sherman tank, but if your heels are bleeding when it’s over, the shoes are garbage. Anyone who’s ever struggled to find high-grade golf shoes that don’t leave trenchfoot behind should take a look at the Eccos.

Bottom line: Expensive? For a pair of shoes, yeah. But if there’s a reason most players don’t take care of their golf shoes, it’s because they’re not much worth taking care of in the first place. Not so with the Eccos, which could well become one of the last brands of golf shoes he’ll ever wear. They’ll last for ages — just make him promise to take care of them.

Check out the other options for Canadian shoppers at

Antigua's whisper-light Whisper Xtra-Lite


Antigua’s high-tech Desert Dry performance shirts have been faves of the Testers since we first wrote about them in depth a number of years ago in the Gear Head era. Being of middle age and less-then-spectacular physique, we always struggled to find lightweight performance-fibre golf shirts that kept us cool and comfortable, didn’t retain the stink of sweat and — most importantly — didn’t expose every unsightly curve and bulge to the world.

Antigua’s 2010 line of Desert Dry Xtra-Lite shirts, such as the Elevate and the Whisper Xtra-Lite, scored big in all of our categories. They live up to their names in terms of weightlessness and comfort, thanks to special texturing methods that help to wick moisture away from the body, making them perfect for the dog days of a Canadian summer or perhaps a January trip to the Caribbean (hint, hint). They’re also roomy, but don’t bulge and gather like a traditional oversized cotton pique.

Unlike a lot of earlier performance fibres, which had a tendency to retain the scent of last weekend’s round, Antigua’s Desert Dry material comes pre-treated with anti-microbial treatments that prevent them from stinking out the joint (the golf will take care of that end of things most days). Combined with flat-knit collars and sleeves that don’t have those annoying elastic gathers, Antigua shirts will come out of the wash looking as good as the day he tore the wrapping paper off them.

Get more details at

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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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