Dunning Golf Review
Pure and simple, Dunning Golf is a players’ brand. This is reflected in the brand’s simple black and white logo, its clean, modern fits and its refined styling.
Dunning Golf is for the player who confidently strides to the first tee knowing what to expect from his clubs, his apparel and his game. Yes, Dunning Golf is for players, not playas. You will not find blinged-out designs, over the top designs and neon colors. This doesn’t mean, though, that Dunning Golf won’t turn heads. It will — just in a different way. Wear Dunning Golf and you will need to get used to your playing partners asking, “Where did you get that?” Instead of, “Where did you get that?”
In 2001, founder Ralph Dunning changed the golf apparel game. He combined his cycling and triathlon experience with his apparel expertise and launched the first golf apparel line comprised exclusively of performance fabrics. Yes, we can all thank Ralph Dunning that we are not wearing those scratchy (and likely flammable) polyester golf shirts from yesteryear.
I’ve admired Dunning Golf from afar for several years, but until this year I had not worn the brand. Wow! What a difference a few months makes. I dipped my toe into the Dunning pool with a belt. Then, a few polo shirts. Next, a pullover and most recently, a pair of pants. Yes, I’m ‘all in’ on Dunning Golf this spring. The more pieces of Dunning Golf apparel I wear, the more I like the brand. Dunning Golf has managed to strike the perfect balance between cutting edge performance, classic style and modern fits that I look for in golf apparel.
Given Ralph Dunning’s athletic background, it is no surprise that a premium is placed on performance and comfort. It’s in the brand’s DNA. As soon as you pull on a Dunning shirt, you can feel the difference. The shirts have an incredibly soft hand. They look and feel a lot like cotton. In fact, when I opened the package I had to double check that the material was not a cotton blend. ‘Luxurious’ isn’t often used to describe technical fabrics, but it is the word that comes to mind when I think about Dunning shirts.
The secret to Dunning’s performance is its top-shelf technical fabrics. The brand’s pique fabric has a lighter feel. The pique weave allows for maximum air flow making it a great choice for warm, humid conditions. The stretch jersey fabric is a bit heavier (40 grams heavier than the pique). This heavier fabric allows the shirt to drape nicely on all body types and it performs well in all conditions thanks to the four-way stretch of the fabric. To me, this heavier weight makes the shirt feel more substantial and conveys a high level of quality.
The brand also just released what it calls a Heritage Performance Cotton fabric that was in development for two years (that’s how serious Dunning is about testing and refining its fabrics). I’ve written about the softness and playability of pima cotton before, and Dunning’s Heritage Performance Cotton features a pima cotton/tech poly/lycra blend. The new Heritage Performance Cotton shirts transition well from on-course to off-course settings and offer an understated nod to the past with modern high tech performance.
From a style standpoint, Dunning’s shirts are a throwback to the Golden Era of golf. In fact, if Hogan were alive and in his prime today, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him wearing a Dunning shirt while searching for the secret in the dirt. Vintage design elements like contrasting plackets and button-down collars are blended with narrow sleeves and athletic cuts for a neo-classic vibe.
I talk a lot about the quality of a shirt coming through in its collar. In my opinion, Dunning shirts have the best collars of any shirts I’ve worn on the course. I’m not sure how the designers pulled this off, but the collars have a certain crispness to them — even after washing. They look like well starched collars, but without the discomfort of starch. This really gives the shirts a high level of sophistication and allows them to elegantly sit under a sweater or even a sports jacket.
Dunning’s Spring Collection will have you hitting it solid and striping it — at least from a design standpoint. Solids and stripes (bar stripes, fine stripes, multi-stripes, wide stripes, and chest stripes) work their way throughout the collection. Some styles of solid shirts, like the Heathered Stretch Pique Polo, are available in as many as 15 different colors. Surely, you can find a style and color that fits your tastes.
Speaking of the colors, the palette for spring infuses a ton of vibrant colors (think pinks, purples, blues and greens) with traditional colors like black, navy blue, beige and grey. This really gives you the option of going for an understated look or pumping up the volume a bit.
One reason why it took me so long to try Dunning was due to the fact that I just didn’t have a good sense of the fit. The shirts always looked to be fairly slim fitting on the PGA Tour players. In reality, though, they run very true to size and they provide a generous, athletic fit. Order your normal size, unless you prefer a slim fit. In that case, I would recommend sizing down. You’ll get the fit through the body, shoulders and arms that you are accustomed to and you won’t sacrifice playability due to the stretch of the fabric.
Dunning on TourDunning is bringing old school, traditional looks back to the fairways while embracing the athleticism of the modern game. It is not surprising that some of the most athletic and stylish PGA Tour players are now wearing the brand. Charles Howell III has always favored high performance, fashion focused brands over his career and is now carrying on this tradition by sporting Dunning. Young guns like Kevin Foley, Russell Knox, David Hearn and Roberto Castro (great follow on Twitter, by the way) have caused a stir on the Tour already in 2014. Long-hitting Nicholas Colsaerts and Brendan Steele personify the brand’s athletic nature. Throw in a veteran and major champion like Jim Furyk and Dunning has one of the strongest staffs on Tour.
Over the last few years, the words ‘performance’ and ‘technical’ have become synonymous with buying a one-way ticket on the crazy train of over-caffeinated color palettes and garish designs. Dunning Golf, however, has managed to rise above the noise. The brand has created apparel with cutting-edge fabrics and modern fits while maintaining a clean, vintage aesthetic. If you’re looking for more out of your golf apparel this season, then Dunning Golf is a brand you must check out.
I’ll have a review of Dunning’s Stripe Stretch Thermal 1/4-Zip pullover and its Players Fit pants posted in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out the brand at www.dunninggolf.com and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.