2015 will go down as a breakout year for Callaway Golf Apparel and for the players who are wearing it. Like many of you, I’ve had various Callaway clubs and golf balls in my bag over the last two decades, but prior to a year ago, I didn’t give much thought to the apparel side of the brand’s business. That was until European Tour player Danny Willet caught my eye at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. Sure, the Nedbank is one of those tourneys that takes place in the “Silly Season,” but Willet may have been the only one laughing as he took $1.25 million USD to the bank for the victory.
What grabbed my attention about Willet over the last 12 months was the fact that the tailoring of his apparel was as sharp as his ball striking. In the damp marine layer of San Francisco, Willet showed us how a golf sweater should fit while going on to finish third at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play. At St. Andrews he took on Mother Nature while sporting the trendiest of outerwear for the season — an insulated gilet. Then, his meticulously tailored polos and trousers took center stage a week later when he won the Omega European Masters. I’d even venture to say that he has been the best tailored player that I’ve seen on any professional tour this year. I’ve even resorted to bringing a picture of Willet to my tailor and saying, “Make my pants fit like this.”
Willet hasn’t been the only Callaway Golf Apparel brand ambassador who has been turning heads this year, either. Long hitter Tony Finau upped his style game during the FedEx Cup Playoffs thanks to slimmer fitting polos. Frys.com champion Emiliano Grillo has been killing it with vibrant hues and modern fits, and Kristoffer Broberg gave us a lesson in layering with a fleece vest and merino sweater combo while capturing the BMW Masters a few weeks ago.
Are all of these well dressed players with a Callaway logo a coincidence? I think not. Over the last couple of years, Callaway has become a serious player in the apparel game thanks to clean fits, eye-catching designs, a mix of technical and natural fabrics and a strong social media presence. Yes, Callaway has earned a spot in your closet, but if you are not sure where to start, here are a few suggestions to get you looking your best.
Lightweight Soft Shell Jacket
Callaway’s Lightweight Soft Shell Jacket has filled a void in my golf wardrobe. Although ‘lightweight’ is in its name, this full-zip jacket has a bit more heft to it than your typical jacket or pullover. Heavier jackets have struggled to find a home on the golf course for obvious playability reasons, but the range of motion and warmth that this jacket offers makes it the ideal layering piece for frigid fall and winter rounds.
The functional beauty of the Lightweight Soft Shell Jacket starts with Callaway’s Opti-Therm fabric and works its way out to the stretchy water and wind repellent outer shell. The Opti-Therm fabric is a soft, waffle-like thermal layer that provides a cozy cocoon of warmth for the body. On its own, this layer would make a great pullover, but Callaway took it to the next level by covering it with a tough but flexible shell that offers protection against the elements, while effortlessly moving with the swing.
Callaway has crossed its t’s and dotted its i’s when it comes to the details on this jacket. It is well appointed with a double zipper, a scorecard chest pocket, bungee waist and ergonomically designed double cuffs to provide protection from the wind. From a style standpoint, the color blocked design on the shoulders is sporty and modern, and the heat seal logo on the left sleeve is clean and understated.
Outlast 1/4-Zip Pullover
This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the goodness that is Outlast technology. NASA first used this space-age technology in spacesuits to protect astronauts from dangerous temperature fluctuations while cruising in outer space, and earlier this year, the folks at Puma started using it in the sock liner of their TITANTOUR shoe to prevent swamp foot for us earthlings.
Outlast is one of those game changing technologies that has the ability to keep the body warm when it is cold, and keeps it cool when the temperature rises. It was only a matter of time before apparel brands started jumping on the Outlast bandwagon and Callaway was the first to grab an express ticket. The brand’s 1/4-Zip Pullover features a Polyester/Outlast/Spandex blend that absorbs heat and either returns it to the body or releases it depending on the conditions. This is a highly technical layering piece that can function as an outer layer in cool fall and spring conditions, or as a mid layer when the mercury drops. While this pullover may have otherworldly qualities, its style is very down to earth. The contrast zipper, bicep stripes, spine stripe and sleeve hem details elevate the look, while keeping it understated and classy.
Fashionable Range of Polos
Joining Callaway’s outerwear pieces is a range of polos that has something for everyone. If you favor high tech looks, then the sporty Outlast Polo is for you. Just as the Outlast Pullover will keep you warm in cool conditions, the space-age fabric works in reverse in warm conditions by absorbing perspiration and excess heat and moving them away from the body. It is no coincidence that many of Callaway’s brand ambassadors turned to this polo during the hot and humid conditions this past summer.
If you like to dial up bold looks, then the aptly named Statement Stripe Polo will help you to stand out from the crowd. Available in two vibrant colorways, a bright blue and a lively turquoise multistripe, this polo is sure to turn heads. However, if timeless styles and natural fabrics are up your alley, then the Opti-Soft Pencil Stripe Polo in a soft cotton blend delivers a classic look with modern performance qualities.
No matter which style you prefer, all of Callaway’s polos feature modern and fashionable details like short collars, narrow sleeves and contemporary fits.
Callaway Golf Apparel jackets and polos run true to size. Although the fits are modern, they are not what I would classify as a slim European fit. I find the sleeves to be a touch longer than what Danny Willet has been sporting, so if you like a shorter sleeve length, I suggest a trip to the tailor for a bit of a nip and tuck to get the “Willet fit.”
Word on the street is that Callaway will add more width to the chest, body and shoulders on its tops for Spring 2016. If that’s the case, prepare to size down for cleaner looks in the New Year.
Thanks to Perry Ellis International for providing GolfThreads with the products reviewed in this post.