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September 09, 1997|LISA DILLMAN

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

What: Golf for Women magazine.

When: Bimonthly.

Price: $3.50.

There's something to be said about directness.

At first glance, this magazine appears to be designed for a very small niche. But that's not the case. Golf for Women has a circulation of 360,000, up from 25,000 readers in 1989, when the magazine was purchased by Meredith Corporation.

Among the pluses:

* No perfumed pages, believe it or not. So you won't start sneezing when you try to read about "Hawaii's Romantic Golf Getaways."

* No pictures of Tiger Woods. Nothing against Woods, but it seems these days he is in everything ranging from Atlantic Monthly to Spin to Gourmet.

* No pictures of anorexic models interspersed with editorial copy railing about how the fashion industry discriminates against normal-sized women.

For once, there is actual, useful information. And you don't have to wade through 80 pages of Egoiste perfume ads to get there.

The May-June issue has stuff for beginners--a list of basic terms for those who aim to learn the lingo. Also useful was a three-page article, "Pregnant? A time to make adjustments." There was advice involving attire, posture, follow-through and putting for the mother to be.

Several pages are devoted to new products, one of them KinBag, a multipurpose golf bag from Sweden. Looks great until you get to the last line: "Introductory price: $287."

The July-August issue has a six-page layout on golf fashion--is that contradictory?--but some of the clothes are actually tolerable. Not counting the $315 quilted wool waterproof vest, which, contrary to first impression, does not double as a bed comforter.

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