When I was twelve, my parents decided to relocate to mid-coast Maine from Brooklyn, NY. They bought a 150-year-old sea captain’s home on Penobscot Bay and turned it into a Bed & Breakfast. The first winter we lived there, my father decided to heat the house entirely with wood. We purchased twenty-one cords of firewood and utilized a wood-burning furnace and numerous stoves in our attempt to keep from freezing. It was an arduous way to generate warmth; chopping and stacking firewood (not to mention getting up in the middle of the night to walk down three flights of stairs to stoke a furnace that reminded the 12-year-old-me of Freddy Krueger’s boiler room).
Although I no longer reside in Maine, I still live in the Northeast, and this year I have committed to revisiting my hearty New England roots by playing winter golf. As a result, I am researching and experimenting with the best cold-weather golf gear and apparel. I will be chronicling my experience through GolfThreads. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments below.
I’ve decided to begin my winter golf series with a deep dive into the jacket. For this series, I will focus on golf-specific outerwear (this is a golf fashion blog, after all). My research began at a local REI (the gang there was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable). The first question I had was; down vs. synthetic insulation?
Down vs. Synthetic Insulation
The consensus opinion is that down is superior for golf. Overall, down offers a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than synthetic insulation. It is more compressible (allowing for the potential to be stuffed in your bag, if necessary) and consequently more durable (meaning it will hold up to repeatedly being stuffed in your bag!).
Synthetic insulation generally wins out in regards to price as well as its performance in wet conditions (if you plan to play in very wet conditions it tends to be very water-resistant and continues to insulate even when wet). There are many competing brands for synthetic insulations, which can make shopping even more confusing. However, everyone I spoke to agreed that PrimaLoft Gold is the best synthetic insulation on the market.
There are only two golf-specific jackets currently on the market that are down-filled: Nike Therma-FIT ADV Repel and the Adidas Frostguard.
Nike Therma-FIT ADV Repel
In 1991, Nike launched the FIT apparel line. Thirty years later they have introduced a new member to the FIT family, FIT ADV, or FIT Advanced. Nike describes their FIT line as a “performance vehicle” and FIT ADV as its “highest class.”
Specifically, the Nike Therma-FIT ADV Repel Jacket is the latest in cold-weather innovation. The design pairs small spots of bonding with lightweight down insulation to increase the loft of the insulation without decreasing your ability to move. Raglan sleeves eliminate shoulder seams to help reduce fabric bunching through your swing. The sleeves and upper back are made from a lightweight woven fabric that stretches with you. A water-repellent finish helps you stay dry in wet weather. Finally, a 2-way zipper lets you personalize your fit.
In 2019 Adidas introduced the Frostguard collection as a way to extend the golf season during the colder months of the year. The non-traditional quilting pattern is designed to keep the jacket quiet through the swing. Stretch-woven fabric connects the down-filled panels (and continues on the arms) for a full range of motion. The stand-up collar offers additional protection against the elements. Adidas continues their emphasis to work towards ending plastic waste by using recycled content to make this jacket.
PrimaLoft Gold Jackets
Puma CLOUDSPUN WRMLBL
The newest edition to the CLOUDSPUN line is designed for you to “Stay Warm Enjoy Golf” (this tagline is woven into the interior of the jacket). Puma’s CLOUDSPUN is exceptionally soft, comfortable, and versatile. The WRMLBL line combines a slightly heavier version of their CLOUDSPUN material with PrimaLoft Gold quilting (in a really cool Dassler-inspired pattern) for ultimate heat retention. It is the perfect combination of soft and warm.
Galvin Green Linc
Galvin Green’s Linc jacket doesn’t offer as much PrimaLoft Gold fill as the Puma jacket but what it lacks in padding, it more than makes up for with the Interface technology. This jacket is completely windproof and is treated with a water repellent to keep you dry in light rain. The V-shape at the center front makes the jacket stay nicely at the hip during movement and the diagonal padding on the chest and across the back add to its visual appeal.