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Golf Outerwear Buyer's Guide

Pick out the right outerwear apparel for any weather condition.




There are many types of golfers out there, just like there are all types of equipment for the various golfers. Even though most of us initially think of golf equipment as clubs, bags, balls or tees, we must remember that our apparel is just as an important part of our game as owning the proper club especially when inclement weather could strike at any time—you need the proper weather gear to fit your golfing needs.

So as a golfer you must decide what type of garment would suit you and your natural surroundings on a daily basis.



Types of Golf Outerwear Apparel:
Waterproof

A garment / fabric specially treated by coating or laminate to keep water from passing through the fabric. A waterproof garment is almost always coated or laminated on the backside of the fabric so the waterproofing will last for many years of hard use.

How this is tested: the fabric must pass an industry minimum of 1,000mm of water pressure measured in a tube against the fabric for a specified period of time (24 hours) without leaking. 1,000mm is the minimum measurement needed to pass the test to be waterproof. As more water pressure is added, and passes the test, the more waterproof a garment is over a period of time (GoreTex, for example, is around 15-20,000mm. waterproof). Remember that "waterproof" is a term for treated fabric before it is cut and sewn. Where there are seams, water can still get through the holes now punched in the fabric- so look for a “seam-sealed” garment if you want the best waterproof ability. The industry waterproof minimum of 1,000mm is not very much - look for at least 2,000-3,000mm and great protection starting at 5,000mm+ if you plan to be out in the elements for an extended period of time.


Water-Resistant

Less than 1,000mm waterproof. By comparison, this type of garment will only keep water out for a very limited amount of time (just several minutes in a rainstorm). In most cases, a water-resistant piece is treated only on the top of the fabric (see DWR coatings below) instead of underneath, like a waterproof piece is treated. This top coating will eventually wear off after a few washings, which can leave you with a totally non-water shedding garment!


Wind-Proof

Wind-proof simply means that the garment will keep out wind. This is the #1 factor for people getting cold in a winter garment if the garment is not windproof! Even the most insulated jacket will lose its warmth if the wind can blow it away! Always check that a winter garment is windproof! (Hint: If you can blow through the fabric, its not windproof.)


Breathable

Look for this in all garments. Without a doubt, the most waterproof, windproof thing you can wear is a plastic bag. How comfy is that? That is why breathability is so important! Do not buy a garment that does not say it is breathable! If your garment does not breathe, the moisture you generate on the way down will over-chill you on the way up! Remember, as the waterproof qualities of a garment goes up, the breathability generally goes down (GoreTex is very waterproof, but has a lower breathability), so buy for the type of weather you are facing. Also, the reason for the high expense of waterproof and highly breathable garments is the high technology coating or laminate, which is usually worth the price in the long run when you finish a day on the fairway dry and comfortable!


Seam-Sealed

To make a garment totally waterproof, the seams must be sealed with special waterproof tape or a rolling process that takes more time and attention to detail. In most cases, seam taping is done by hand, so this makes for a more expensive garment (again, well worth it!). Full seam-sealing means every inch of stitching is covered by tape. For a more cost conservative option, see critical seam-seal.


Critical Seam-Seal

Like it sounds, this garment has only the main areas that are susceptible to water sealed with tape. Mainly meaning shoulders and front seams, this is a less expensive way to get a great jacket that will shed most of the elements!


DWR Coatings

These are water-resistant coatings or sprays applied to the top of the fabric to simply shed water, since waterproof coatings cannot be applied to the top of fabrics due to a non-clear and usually rubber-like texture. DWR coatings will eventually break down over a period of time, but you can rejuvenate this coating with wash-in DWR.


Insulations

There are so many insulations out on the market, it is impossible to talk about them all at once! While many people know some of the big marketed brands such as “Thinsulate,” there are many others worth buying. In fact, some of the generic insulations can be quite good when paired with technological elements such as waterproofing and breathability.


Shell

This term is applied to a garment that does not contain insulation. This is a great garment for spring/summer/fall.




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