SI asked 150 of the nation's leading sports personalities this question: What do you want most for Christmas? Summed up, the choice of the 128 who replied was: "The best available equipment and clothing for my sport." Skiers want skis, fishermen want fly rods, tennis players want tennis clothes and rackets and nothing would make a bowler happier than a new bowling ball. When shopping for sports-minded friends, steer clear of tricks and gadgets. Know your sportsman. Then take a tip from our experts and give him the most appreciated gift you ever gave—the obvious one.
SKIING: Next to a trip to ski country, skiers most want skis—with the Head ski (SI, Dec. 6) a landslide request—and fine boots, the most important factor in skiing. Ski pants, fancy ski sweaters and down-filled jackets are other wanted items. A skier who broke his leg last year put in his bid for a pair of safety bindings before he braves the slopes again.
FISHING: Fishermen are suckers for new equipment, but there isn't one alive who wouldn't like to have a fine new fly rod or a spinning reel. Other requests from fishermen: outboard motors, plaid wool shirts, a micrometer for measuring lines and leaders.
GOLF: Almost every golfer put golf balls at the top of his list of requests for Christmas—especially monogrammed ones. Next to golf balls, golfers want special clubs: a dynamiter, wedge or putter. Also prized: poplin golf jackets and shooting sticks.
SHOOTING: The first choice of hunters who answered SI's query were guns—double-barreled over-and-unders, carbines, deer rifles. They also requested membership in Amateur Trapshooting Association, hunting coats, variable-power scopes.
TENNIS: The best Christmas gift Pauline Betz ever got was a $5 racket when she was 15. Ham Richardson wants tennis shorts; Hal Burrows a racket case. Most players would like warm-up sweaters, tennis shirts.
BOWLING: Bowlers are the easiest sportsmen to please. They want a bowling ball, a bag to carry it in, a pair of bowling shoes, odd slacks to bowl in. After this, they'll take a gift certificate at their favorite alley and they're set to roll.
DOGS: Dog trainers such as Mrs. John Laurie and Mrs. John Cross want dog crates and grooming tables, grooming aids and show leads. Mrs. Travis Look wants a young bird dog.
HORSES: Next best thing to a gift horse for a horseman is a picture of a horse. Other wishes: binoculars, stop watches, The Jockey Club's Racing in America ($120).