Tormented over what to give for Valentine’s Day? Flowers won’t live long and neither will chocolate, but a golf gift is a lasting display of one’s love. OK, I’m biased. But I know what I’d like to get on Feb. 14, if my beloved wife was so inclined.
(Amy, keep reading.)
Titleist ProV1s ($48/dozen): The gold standard in golf balls has a new reformulation for 2013, most notably with added durability. I’ve played a few already, hitting them into some unbecoming places but finding them virtually unscathed.
Ecco shoes ($129 and up): The hottest trend in golf apparel is casual footwear that performs on the course and off, making changing shoes in the parking lot obsolete. Ecco was one of the first companies in the ring (remember Fred Couples at the Masters a few years back?) and now makes several different models in a great range of colors. Buying a pair for the golfer in your life means also getting a say in their off-course wardrobe.
Tin Cup ($19.95 and up): These were one of the cooler products I saw at last month’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. Instead of ordering logo balls, have fun making them yourself with these cups that fit over a ball and await your fine-tipped marker. There’s one to make a heart (see picture) and many other designs including colleges.
TaylorMade R1 driver ($399): Make your sweetheart really happy with TaylorMade’s newest beast off the tee, which won immediately on the PGA Tour after it was introduced. What makes this an easier gift than ever before are the adjustable loft settings, which means you don’t need to know whether your golfer prefers a 9-degree or 11-degree driver. The R1 adjusts to cover both.
Now, where to go to put those new toys to work? Here’s a few choices for romance with golf potential -- or is that golf with romance potential?
Renaissance Vinoy, St. Petersburg -- an’t go wrong with a pink hotel for Valentine’s Day, especially one on the National Register of Historic Places. The waterfront hotel has a Tim Garl-designed golf course open just to members and resort guests.
The Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club – A trip to Naples’ only waterfront hotel with an on-site golf club means maximizing your sweetheart time.
Hammock Beach Resort, Palm Coast – No other Florida course boasts as many holes on the Atlantic (six) as the Jack Nicklaus-designed Ocean Course. Have dinner on the clubhouse balcony to the sound of the crashing waves.
LPGA International, Daytona Beach -- Live music and fine dining is available on Valentine's night, a great finish to a 36-hole day at the LPGA's home.
VISIT FLORIDA Smart Travel Insider Dalia Colon found some good Valentine's packages here, too.