Golf Outerwear Education
Golf is great when played during great weather, but that's not always possible for every golfer. Sometimes, you just have to get out an play, even if it's wet, and even if it's raining. The good news is there are many different options when you're looking to outfit your gear to tackle the elements. Read on to explore the differences between the many materials used in the construction of jackets and pants, what level of protection is best for you, and the differences between waterproof, water-resistant, and windproof outerwear.
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If you will be golfing in heavy rain of live in an area with unpredictable weather, look for a waterproof jacket for the highest level of weather protection. Most golfing jackets offer waterproofing in combination with a stretch fabric, essential for freedom of movement when hitting or putting.
Each manufacturer has their own proprietary material, which offers a balance between breathability, waterproofing and sometimes stretch. Waterproof fabrics almost always have a thin coating (DWR, more on this below) on top, consisting of polyurethane or other chemical compound, which adds moisture repellent and causes water to bead up and roll off the jacket. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for fabric care to maintain water resistance and durability.
Zippers can be a weak point for letting in water in waterproof garments. This is remedied either by a waterproof zipper or by being covered by thin strips of fabric called storm flaps.
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Jackets or pants that are water-resistant have a thin coating of polyurethane or other chemical compound, and offer a level of protection similar to that of waterproof garments. This outer veneer is typically referred to as DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish, which causes rain to bead up and roll off, similar to rain beading off a waxed car. The advantages of water-resistant outerwear include a cheaper price and better ventilation and breathability than most waterproof fabrics.
Water-resistant clothing is intended for lighter rain – if you’re caught in a downpour, it can only resist so much rain before it becomes saturated and soaks through. If you plan to be out in heavy rains or unpredictable weather, it’s best to get outerwear labeled as waterproof.
A jacket can be windproof without being waterproof, yet every waterproof jacket is also windproof. Polyester (fleece) is the most common material used to make windproof outerwear. If you don’t anticipate playing in rainy weather, a windproof jacket might be your best option. Windproof gear will lessen the impact of wind while your swinging, allowing for a fluid plane no matter the air swirling around you.
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Breathable fabric allows body-generated moisture to escape through and away. Classic, rubber rain jackets have no breathability, unlike many of today’s waterproof fabrics. With all waterproof/breathable fabric technology, the basic principle is the same: In the form of moisture (sweat), water molecules are small enough to escape through the fabric’s weave, but water in liquid form (rain) is kept from penetrating through the fabric.