The clocks have been set back. The days are getting shorter. There are more leaves on the fairways than on the trees. Unless you are in a warm weather climate or the southern hemisphere, the golf days are numbered. But, we are not normal, fair weather golfers. We are obsessed. We are diehards. The clubs do not go into complete hibernation for the winter. They are merely staying warm in the closet.
We will find any opportunity to do what we love. A cold rain? Sounds perfect. Snow flurries? No problem.
Here’s the head-to-toe guide to cold weather golf for those of us who won’t let Mother Nature stand in the way of our next round.
The myth that you lose most of your body heat through your head has been debunked, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your ears and head warm. Opt for a hat made from fleece or wool, as opposed to cotton. Cotton is a great natural fabric for the summer, but it doesn’t provide the warmth that fleece or wool does in the winter.
GolfThreads Pick: The Ciny 2 from Hugo Boss is made from 100% virgin wool and looks great on the course or on the street.
Otherwise known as, ‘that thing Martin Kaymer wore at the WGC Match Play Championship a couple years ago.’ I can’t say I’ve ever resorted to a snood, or even knew what it was before the former world number one broke it out, but it is designed to keep your neck warm and can be pulled up to cover your face between shots. This also gives you the ‘Jesse James-bank-robber look’, which could be ironic if you are taking money from your playing partners.
GolfThreads Pick: The Delta Snood from Galvin Green features the brand’s Insula technical fabric and the basic black color is a good complement to most looks.
The Base Layer
As golfers, we want to be warm, but we also want to be able to swing. Bulky jackets and sweaters inhibit a free swing, but shivering is not the best thing for a backswing, either. Compression shirts have probably been the best cold weather advancement in golf apparel over the last 5 years. They fit tight to the skin to eliminate bulk (especially through the forearms) while trapping body heat and they allow for additional layering pieces. Some are even lined with fleece. The compression fit takes some time to get used to. If you just can’t get it to work for you, then check out ‘fitted’ shirts. These tend to fit close to the skin, without making you feel like you are in a trash compactor.
GolfThreads Pick: The Merino Base Layer Crewneck from Dunning is unlike other techy base layers as it is made from merino wool to help regulate your body temperature.
The Wool Sweater
Call us traditionalists, but we still prefer a wool v-neck sweater compared to a jacket. Sweaters are less restrictive and quieter than jackets, and not to mention a lot more stylish. When choosing a sweater for cold weather, fit and material are the two most important components. A golf sweater should be snug through the body and the arms as excess material is distracting and creates a baggy, clunky look.
GolfThreads Pick: Iconic Scottish brand Lyle & Scott knows a thing or two about golf sweaters and their lambs wool sweaters provide a stylish, understated look.
It’s hard to believe that nearly 7 years have passed since Zach Johnson won the Masters and introduced modern layering techniques to the golf world with a base layer, polo and technical vest. Vests are a perfect layering component for golfers. They keep our core warm, they don’t interfere with our arms and they can even be worn under a jacket or over a sweater. Recently, we’ve seen an evolution in golf vests as warmer, thinner fabrics have led quilted or ‘puffy’ vests to become a trendy option on the course.
GolfThreads Pick: The lightweight, down-filled RLX Channel Vest transitions well from the course to the street and to the slopes. Plus, its bright green color will add some pop to your winter wardrobe.
The Water Repellant Pants/Trousers
I can’t tell you how many golfers I see that just throw on some ill-fitting rain pants during the winter months — even if it is sunny. Are rain pants functional? Yes. Stylish? No. Think about it. When was the last time someone said, “Hey, nice rain pants.” Um, never. Instead, opt for a pair of water repellent technical pants. They will keep you warm and dry during the cooler months, they are a lot quieter than rain pants and fashion-conscious brands are producing modern, slim-fitting styles.
GolfThreads Pick: The J.Lindeberg Alrik possesses the clean lines of a slim-fitting chino, while its water repellent bi-mechanical stretch fabric will keep your ankles and calves dry throughout the round.
The Wool Socks
At GolfThreads, we tee off at the break of dawn, which means borderline frosty conditions. While, thick wool socks are warm, they cause our shoes to be too tight. Instead, find a thin pair of merino wool socks. Think of them as a base layer for your feet. They are light, warm and offer good breathability as temperatures rise during the round.
GolfThreads Pick: Swiftwick’s Pursuit 7 socks offer a combination of insulating and wicking qualities, while the compression fit improves blood flow and endurance.
Boots were made to combat winter elements and brands like Nike and True Linkswear have introduced golf boots to provide warmth and traction for your feet during the winter months. Nike’s Lunar Bandon golf boot looks like a mash-up between a golf shoe and hiking boot and definitely places function above form. The Chukka from True Linkswear on the other hand, is a more refined and stylish option that looks as good on the course as off the course.
GolfThreads Pick: The True Linkswear Chukka. This is a golf style blog, after all.