Which brand would you wear if you were on Tour? This is one of the questions I’m asked most often. It is also a question debated on forums, with your buddies as you walk down the fairway, and at every 19th hole. Well, if I suddenly gained 50 yards off the tee, found a wizard-like short game, and turned that 4 handicap into a -6 handicap, Dunning would certainly be on the short list of brands I gave to my agent.
Why Dunning? At a time when golf apparel is trying to be anything but golf apparel, Dunning has managed to embrace the heritage of the game while meeting the performance standards of modern players. The brand’s dedication to golf is evident in everything it does—from the clean designs and luxurious fabrics to the precise details and stunning photography. Yes, Dunning is everything that is right about golf apparel.
For AW17, Dunning has taken its game to the next level with new natural hand fabrics, innovative layering pieces, sophisticated jacquards, and a color palette that is as autumnal as pumpkin pie and apple cider. None of these come as a big surprise, though. The brand has a history of working with the finest mills to create some of the most comfortable and best performing fabrics. Innovation has always been a focus thanks to founder Ralph Dunning’s time as a competitive triathlete. And, the brand has always excelled at fusing classic colors with trendy hues. This season, rich teals, brick reds, and plums are mixed with timeless blues, greys, blacks, and tans.
I’ve been wearing pieces from Dunning’s AW17 Collection for the past six weeks and the compliments have been endless. While you can’t go wrong with anything from this collection, here are a few of my favorites.
Natural Hand Polos
What’s the next big thing in golf apparel? It’s not a hip new design or stylish new color. Instead, it is all about next-generation fabrics that deliver the performance of technical polyesters with the soft hand feel of cotton.
Dunning finds itself ahead of the curve in this department with its novel Natural Hand Polo. Made from a technical polyester/spun polyester/cotton jersey blend, this shirt delivers the rare combination of comfort and performance.
I typically prefer technical fabrics on the course. After a while, though, my body begins to crave the softness of a natural fabric. This is the perfect shirt for the occasion. The natural hand feel makes for a refreshing change of pace. With the feathery weight, mechanical stretch, and breathability I don’t have to sacrifice top-shelf performance. Plus, the heathered design adds just the right amount of texture to elevate the look of this solid colored polo.
Tri-Color Stripe Polo
How good is this shirt? I wore it for a round at my friend’s club a few weeks ago. At the turn, he walked me into the pro shop and said to the head pro, “We have to get some Dunning shirts in here.” Yes, this shirt will turn heads for all the right reasons.
The three-color stripe design and stretch jersey fabric is the best example of how Dunning is bridging the gap between timeless looks and modern athleticism. If you’ve read my reviews of previous Dunning Collections, you’ll know the stretch jersey is my favorite fabric from the brand. It is the perfect all-season material. In hot and humid conditions, the lightweight stretch jersey provides the breathability and moisture-wicking qualities to take on sticky summer conditions. In cooler temps, it acts as a high-performance base layer to keep you dry and warm. The touch of spandex makes it the fabric with the most stretch in Dunning’s lineup. You’ll appreciate the range of motion when you try to get a few extra yards out of that driver.
Jacquard fabrics feature a raised pattern that is woven, as opposed to printed onto the fabric. They all but disappeared from the game for several years, but they have come roaring back in a big way this year.
Dunning again finds itself at the forefront of a trend with three distinct jacquard polos in its AW17 Collection. The Weave Jacquard Polo is the best of the bunch. The intricate pattern is both modern and sophisticated. You can easily layer this under a sweater or sport coat in the office and then hit the links for a twilight round. Not to mention, the polyester fabric is the perfect weight for transitioning from summer to fall.
Joining the Weave Jacquard is the Window Pane Jacquard. Window pane checks returned the menswear scene with a vengeance a few years ago and they are still going strong. Recently, large-scale window pane checks have been used to make bold statements in tailored clothing. In typical Dunning fashion, though, designers took a more understated approach by using a smaller pattern. This polo screams casual elegance and it works as well in the corner office as it does on the course.
Rounding out the range of jacquards is the Heathered Jacquard Polo. The combination of the thin jacquard stripes and heathered fabric offer a modern take on a classic design. This shirt has a bit more heft to it, making it a better option for this time of the year. Thanks to soft natural hand feel, it will become one of your favorites this season. As the most casual of the jacquard options, you can easily pair it with Dunning’s Heathered 5-Pocket Pants or technical chinos.
Performance Player Sweater
Dunning may call this a sweater but it is really a glorious mash-up of your favorite college sweatshirt and a classic v-neck jumper. Slip on the Player Performance Sweater and you won’t want to take it off – ever. Fabricated from a poly/wool blend, the brushed interior locks in the warmth for those brisk autumn days, but also boasts breathability and moisture management qualities. Plus, stretch side panels offer playability and range of motion. The only downside is it is available in only four colors.
Natural Hand ¼ Zip Pullover
I was a sweater guy before I tried Dunning’s Stretch Thermal ¼ Zip a few years ago. With the ¼ Zip, Dunning managed to capture all the features I love about sweaters in the athletic and casual look of a pullover. Now, the brand has taken its pullover offerings to the next level through this Natural Hand version with a cutting-edge cotton/poly/bamboo charcoal blend fabric. The secret ingredient here is the bamboo charcoal. This sustainable material is naturally antimicrobial, breathable, and thermo-regulating, which means no chemicals are added for performance benefits. It’s a win/win, as it is better for the environment and your skin.
With a little more weight than the Stretch Thermal ¼ Zip, the Hand Natural Pullover is the one I keep reaching for as the days get shorter and the mercury begins to drop. Not to mention, all those well thought out bells and whistles from the Stretch Thermal model have been carried over to the Natural Hand model. The T-neck style protects the neck from autumn’s winds, the zipper design prevents scratching, and the drawstring hem helps to block out the chill. If you buy one layering piece from Dunning this season, make it the Natural Hand ¼ Zip. If you buy one colorway, make it the Brick Heather.
The best fitting technical bottoms in the game. It isn’t just a slogan; it’s one of the reasons why Dunning customers, including myself, keep returning to the brand. How do you improve on the best? It is no easy feat, but designers elevated Dunning’s pants and shorts thanks to a lightweight, stretchy fabric, a new tailored fit, and a heathered texture.
Here in California, August and September are two of the hottest months of the year, and this year we have been hit with record-breaking heat waves. My go-to shorts, on and off the course, through it all have been Dunning’s Heathered Shorts. The heathered texture gives these shorts a cottony look while the feathery fabric and breathability deliver the premium performance needed to take on the heat. That being said, the best part of these shorts is the fit. Compared to other shorts in Dunning’s collection, the Heathered Shorts are more tailored through the thigh and hit about an inch above the knee. This is the perfect silhouette for 2017.
While the modern styling will keep you on point, golf-specific features will make the Heathered Shorts an on-course favorite. Deep front and rear pockets with lightweight linings make it easy to store tees, ball markers, and scorecard holders. The v-notch in the back of the waistband allows you to crouch to read putts with ease and helps to prevent the dreaded ‘waistband flop.’ In addition to the range of classic colors, Dunning is bringing a splash of energy with a vibrant blue (Dew Mist) and green (Beach Glass).
Heathered 5-Pocket Pants
The contemporary cut and premium performance of the Heathered Shorts are carried over to the Heathered 5-Pocket Pants. These will be some of the most versatile pants in your closet. The texture and styling allow these trousers to be easily dressed up for a night on the town or dressed down for a casual day around town or on the course.
Are You a Dunning Player?
Chances are the answer to this question is, yes. According to the brand, the typical Dunning player is a serious golfer who appreciates fit, performance, and an understated style. The average age of a Dunning customer ranges from 25 to over 65. It is hip enough for the kids and timeless enough for discerning gentlemen. You’ll likely find a Dunning player on the course more than once a week. He will be carrying his bag, a Scotty Cameron putter, and a single digit handicap.
Look for Dunning’s AW17 Collection at TRENDYGOLF and your local green grass shops.