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Many of us wait until the last moment to do our Christmas shopping. If you have a golfer in the family, I have some great last-second ideas. They range from wet-weather gear to lightweight golf bags. Gift cards at some of our best local courses would also fit nicely under the tree.


Golf courses

La Purisima has a wonderful gift option with the 2012 Players Club. By joining this, a player can receive free rounds, preferred rates, guest passes, range and lunch vouchers. 2012 Players Club members pay only $33 weekdays and $44 on weekends, cart included. This card will surely pay for itself quickly. Hunter Ranch has almost the exact same program, and in years past they even had a plan for both. Visit LaPurisimaGolf.com for further details. The River Course at Alisal has a card you can buy for $450 dollars that entitles the bearer to 10 rounds of golf without cart. Gift certificates in smaller denominations are also available. A visit to RiverCourse.com will provide further information.

Rancho San Marcos and Sandpiper have the 2012 Preferred Players Program. This card entitles players to a preferred rate during the week of $50 at Sandpiper and $45 at Rancho San Marcos. Weekend rates are $70 and $65, respectively. They also offer a Junior Preferred Players Program, which is really a great deal for the youngsters. Under this plan, junior golfers pay only $15 when playing with a paying adult and $6 for the twilight rate. Check out SandpiperGolf.com.

Monarch Dunes in Nipomo has the Royal Rewards Card for just $149. This entitles one to discounted green fees up to 30% on both The Old Course and The Challenge. Cardholders will also get 6 “Member Only” tournaments per year, and a dozen Titleist Pro V1 golf balls and better rates on golf cart rentals. MonarchDunes.com is the spot for more info.

The final option for local players would be The Players Club at Cypress Ridge. For just $119, those joining will save 35% on green fees, receive a $50 Range Card, and get a half-hour lesson at the Central Coast Golf Academy. There’s even more included, so visit CypressRidge.com to apply.


Golf bags

Nike Golf has developed the finest line of lightweight golf bags in the industry. What’s more they offer a variety of styles and colors to fit all Golfers needs. The folks at Nike Golf are on the cutting edge of the latest designs and their carry bags are a prime example.

Take the Nike Xtreme Sport IV Carry which comes in such colors as Midnight Blue, Magenta, Plush Green, Team Red and Pink Flash-Argyle. This bag is one of the lightest on the market and yet it has all the functions of a normal bag with multiple pockets and club dividers. Google Nike Golf to view.


Rain gear

Sun Mountain is known for their golf bags and carts, but they also have an attractive line of outerwear. The top of the line in their raingear starts with the Torrent Jacket coming in Red, Navy, Black and Pewter. Another option is the Rainflex Jacket available in White, Navy, Jupiter and Black. Men also have the option of the Torrent LT Jacket in Royal, Shadow/Red, Shadow/ Black and Black/Shadow.

Unlike the old days of raingear, this is stuff you might actually like to wear off the course. Sun Mountain has been quick to incorporate the style of skiwear into their outerwear line. For more details, visit Sunmountain.com.


Holiday travel hints

Let’s say you are still looking for something to do after Christmas. You might consider being a bit of a contrarian.

The more sophisticated city hotels are often way down on occupancy, as most head for exotic beaches or the slopes. San Francisco or Los Angeles would both be good choices here and you could take in the after-Christmas sales. Downtown Los Angeles would really be quiet, yet there are great theatre options. You could even take Amtrak to downtown L.A. and a cab to your hotel. West L.A. should also be fairly quiet right up to New Year’s Eve.

Monterey and San Fran are also likely to be quiet as locals head for warmer climes. Best to check the weather first and make last-second choices.