All I want for Christmas is … more golfers

Golfers are like that goofy aunt whose tastes are as all over the place as some of my tee shots.

To the uninformed, shopping for us can be about as much fun as a quadruple bogey.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you’ve ever received one of those putting contraptions designed for your living room, raise your hand.

Ah yes, quite a few of you.

How about a dozen golf balls?

Many more hands.

How about a brand of golf balls you would never, ever use in a million years?

Sadly, more hands.

Maybe your significant other wanted to splurge and bought you clubs or shoes. I hope it was just a gift certificate because those can be very individual tastes. And you never want to buy either one without making sure they fit and are what the golfer wants.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Just tell your family to get you a round of golf on this website.

It might cost less than a dozen balls, and you’ll like that present a lot more than something you’ll also use once but with far less enjoyment before it’s relegated to a distant closet.

I’ve never understood why this has to be so difficult. I get that non-golfers don’t understand our great game – they simply don’t connect with its allure and fascination. They look at it as some strange undertaking that bores them.

That brings to mind a reverse Christmas present: How about giving them something that might spark their interest in joining you out there?

That doesn’t mean an instructional book. Gosh no. No one who has a bad attitude about golf is going to want to read a book about it.

You have to get them something that will get them out to a course, where they can see people laughing and enjoying a beautiful day.

It can be something small … something like a used putter.

They’re not ready to venture onto the course – not even close. They might not even be ready to go to the driving range.

But putting is something anyone can do with a little instruction. You don’t have to be a great golfer – or even be a golfer at all – to learn how to putt.

And there’s something just kind of cool about having a fun little competition on the putting green. No pressure, just laughter. Before you know it, they might be clamoring for a chance to swing a longer club.

Now you’ve got them. Most ranges have clubs that can be borrowed, but if you want to buy something, a few bucks will usually get you a knock-off driver that’s good enough for the range. It doesn’t have to be top of the line.

The introduction to golf should continue along that path. Fun, not expectations. Laughs, not groans.

Who knows where it could lead? Years from now, they could be regular golfers who can’t stop telling the world how wonderful the game is. It might just take an opportunity to actually set foot on those hallowed grounds and see how clean and wholesome and honest it is – far more than any other sport.

It could be the best present you’ve ever given them – and it could be a present for you, too. Just like that, you have a new playing partner. And you’ll certainly know what to get each other.

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