The best golf mid-layers can be the most versatile pieces of clothing you purchase, if you’re looking for winter wear that can help you stay warm on the course, without causing you to overheat. This layer of clothing is part of the standard three-layer clothing system. It should keep you comfortably warm but should not restrict your swing. Finding mid-layer clothing that’s specifically designed for golf will be key, since these clothes are designed with range of motion in mind.
If you’re having a tough time finding mid-layer pieces for your winter wear wardrobe, then my guide and product recommendations will show you exactly what to look for, how to choose mid-layers based on your playing style and weather conditions, and the different options available for the golfer in need of mid-layers that are breathable, comfortable, and insulating.
Below, you can take a look at my comparison chart, which includes each product that earned a spot on my best-of list, their top features, and how each piece rated.
Golf Mid-layer Comparison Chart
Bobby Jones XH2O Crawford Performance Golf Pullover
This mid-layer is made out of a combination of spandex and polyester. This layer is breathable, comfortable, and soft. It provides that much-needed extra layer for when you hit the course in the fall or winter. This comfortable pullover has a chest pocket that’s zippered and includes raglan sleeves that promote freedom of movement. The moisture wicking fabric will pull sweat and water away from your skin, which will prevent skin irritation, unwanted odors, and will keep you nice and dry during light rainfall.
- Zippered chest pocket
- Raglan sleeves
- Made out of spandex and polyester
- Runs a size or two large
The Bobby Jones brand has a reputation for designing golf clothes with a more classic look. Their latest line of pullovers is available in 10 color options and 6 sizes. If you need a comfortable, warm pullover for chilly mornings on the course, or those overcast days, then this model offers the right combination of water protection, breathability, and a flexible fit.
Dry Fit Pullover Sweaters for Men
Made out of 100% polyester, this fleece pullover features a slim cut design that’s meant to be form fitting. This pullover is both water and wind-resistant, featuring insulating fabrics that will protect the wearer from wind, rain, and cold. While the pullover is designed to seal in body heat, it’s also very breathable, which makes it a good choice for cold mornings and rainy days on the course. It also features stretchy ribbed hem, collar, and cuffs, all of which work together to improve the wearer’s range of movement. The cuffs will keep the sleeves secure and firmly in place, preventing the sleeves from sliding down during a swing. The elastic hem and collar contract and expand with the wearer’s movements.
- Slim fit cut may not work for every golfer
The pullover is made out of ultra-soft fleece fabric, for a design that’s insulating and breathable. The stretchy materials used at the hem, collar, and cuffs promote freedom of movement, as does the trim fit design that follows the contours of the body, for a clean look on the course. This breathable, insulating pullover will protect you from the elements, without compromising your swing or your style.
Callaway Men’s Golf Full Zip Long Sleeve Waffle Knit Fleece Jacket
Made from 100% polyester, this fleece pullover will keep you looking good while you practice your swing, and warm on those overcast days when you walk the course. The Opti-Therm insulated fabric provides a layer of thermal protection that’s designed to keep you warm and comfortable. This insulated fabric works by keeping a barrier between the wearer and the elements. This simple, yet elegant pullover will give you a clean, muted, classic look, offering three neutral colors to choose from.
- Opti-Therm protection
- Runs true to size
- Muted collar
- Only three color options to choose from
This lightweight fleece pullover is made by one of the biggest names in Golf. Callaway is known for their line of classic golf clothing, including slacks, jackets, polos, and shorts. Their mid-layer winter wear clothing line is a hit for a number of reasons and offers ultimate outdoor protection. Their latest pullover to hit the market is a perfect example of the classic golf look that many golfers love. It also provides the type of flexible design and comfortable fit that you’ll need to play your best.
Little Donkey Andy Men’s Softshell Vest for Golf
You’ll find no shortage of golfers wearing a mid-layer vest out on the course. These vests are often loaded with pockets, feature a stretchy design, and give even a low handicapper a pro look on the course. This model by Little Donkey Andy is available in five colors and is made out of 95% polyester and 5% spandex. The fit of the vest runs a size small, so the manufacturer recommends purchasing a size larger than what you normally wear, if you want the vest to have a nice loose fit. Unfortunately, the manufacturer only offers five sizes to choose from.
Aside from the lack of size options, the vest itself is breathable and water resistant. It comes equipped with a TPU membrane, with a four-way stretch design that promotes a full range of motion. The vest’s breathability will also prevent you from overheating.
- TPU membrane
- Loaded with pockets
- Five color options
- Only five sizes to choose from
- Vest runs a size small
This golfer’s vest is breathable, water-resistant. and allows you to move freely, thanks to the four-way stretch design. The included zip-up pockets and chest pocket are perfect for storing all of your important personal items, such as your phone and wallet. This lightweight vest is a great choice for both mild and severe winter conditions, if you know how to layer your clothing correctly. Versatile and functional, this vest is a must-have in every serious golfer’s fall and winter wardrobe.
Callaway Golf 2019 Men’s Thermal Pullover
This pullover by Callaway is designed to handle cold weather, providing a thick layer of thermal comfort. The pullover is made out of 50% Merino wool and 50% acrylic. The pullover is both comfortable and stylish and does an excellent job of keeping you warm and dry. This is mainly due to the Merino wool content, which not only pulls moisture away from the skin and can continue to keep you warm, even when the material is wet, but it can also prevent any unwanted odors. This is the perfect mid-layer to use in both mild and severe inclement weather conditions.
- Made out of 50% Merino wool
- Fights unwanted odors
- Continues to keep wearers warm even if it gets wet
- Moisture wicking fabric
- Only one size option
Comfortable, classic, and warm, this pullover from Callaway will allow you to brave colder temperatures and rainy days on the course. The thick, insulating fabric will keep you warm and dry, even during a downpour. Additionally, the looser fit helps promote full range of motion. Overall, the pullover offers that classic look that many golfers love, with the type of insulating power that all golfers need during the fall and winter months.
Lacoste Men’s Long Sleeve Quarter Zip Waffle Golf Sweatshirt
The pullover’s ultra-dry stretchy fabric will wick sweat away from the skin, so the wearer stays comfortable and dry. This is a great piece to keep in your closet for those casual days on the course. This sweatshirt may just be the most comfortable thing you’ll ever wear. It has a zippered collar and pockets, so you can keep all your important personal items on hand, and it features a breathable design that will prevent you from overheating.
On the inside of the sweatshirt, you’ll find flatlock seams, which prevent chafing, and a waffle fabric that’s designed to wick sweat away from the skin.
- Moisture wicking material
- Flatlock seams
- Waffle fabric
- Zippered pockets and collar
- One color option available
This comfortable sweatshirt can be the perfect piece to wear when you’re practicing at the range, or when you want a more casual look on the course. While it’s designed to keep you warm, it also features the type of breathable design you need to keep you cool as you work your way to the eighteenth hole.
Callaway Men’s Golf Mock Pullover
This mock pullover from Callaway is made out of 90% polyester and 10% spandex. The Opti-Dri materials are designed to pull moisture away from the body, to keep the wearer dry and comfortable. The OptiShield technology will protect the wearer from harmful UV rays. This pullover also includes OptiStretch technology, which consists of multiple layers of spandex that’s used to promote max range of motion. This allows the pullover to move with you as you swing.
- UV protection
- Moisture wicking material
- Won’t restrict your range of motion
- Runs a size small
- Material is very thin
Offering a classic design and a fresh look, this mid-layer is versatile and insulating.
It’s designed to keep you dry and warm, without feeling weighed down. It also won’t negatively impact your range of motion, so you can swing or practice your follow through, without feeling restricted. This model is available in four colors and seven size options.
Eddie Bauer Men’s Cloud Layer Pullover
This popular pullover from Eddie Bauer is a hot seller, mainly due to the ultra-soft polyester fleece materials that are also insulating and very durable. This versatile mid-layer can be worn as a top layer in mild to moderate winter conditions, or it can be worn under a winter coat. The material does an excellent job of trapping body heat, with a breathable design that allows sweat to escape. If the pullover does get wet, the quick-drying fabric will still keep you warm and dry. The stretchy fabric and the athletic cut make it a perfect choice for sports. The material will not restrict your movements as you take a swing, and will instead, move with your body.
- Quick-dry material
- Athletic cut
- Moisture wicking material
- Runs a size small
Versatile and a comfortable casual pullover that you can wear both on and off the course, this model by Eddie Bauer earned top marks for its quick drying capabilities, breathable design, and insulating power. It also comes equipped with a ¼ zipper, for quick venting. The insulating material does a great job of providing the warmth you need, with a lightweight design and an athletic cut that won’t work against you.
Golf Mid-layer Buyer’s Guide
You’ll have a hard time learning how to play golf in cold weather without the right clothing. Many golfers are actually surprised to learn that there are diehard golfers that refuse to stop perfecting their game during the off-season.
So, you’ve decided this season, you’re going to stick it out. There’s no way you’re hanging up your clubs until spring. But now what? You can’t hit the course bundled up in your usual ski jacket or bulky winter coat. You may have read a little about golf clothing and how to layer it, so you know finding clothing that’s insulating and breathable will be key to creating a winter wardrobe that won’t restrict your swing on the course. But you may have also realized that finding the perfect mid-layer is a lot easier than it sounds. If you’re determined to hit the course this winter, then choosing the right layers of clothing are essential. Mid-layers are usually made out of technical fabrics that feature moisture wicking properties that pull sweat away from the skin. They also do an excellent job of keeping you warm, but without all the bulk of a heavy sweater or overcoat. Mid-layers are available in a wide range of materials and styles, so you should have no trouble finding the per clothes that will match with your existing wardrobe and some great pieces that can do wonders in terms of keeping you warm in colder weather.
Making the Most of the Mid-layer
Mid-layers are essentially pieces of clothing that can be worn under your top layer and over your base layer of clothing. You’ll find a wide variety of types and materials to choose from, including microfleece, wool, and even goose down.
The role of this layer of clothing is to trap your body heat, while allowing moisture to make its way out of the base layer, to the outer layers. The type of mid-layer you choose can depend on weather conditions, environment, and activity. Of course, if you’re looking for clothing that allows you to swing freely, you’ll want to find clothing that’s flexible.
How it Works
The outer layer and base layer take care of protection from the elements and moisture management. The mid-layer works to retain heat and provides insulation, which is why it’s often referred to as the insulating layer.
This layer of clothing traps body heat, keeping it close to your skin. Many people mistakenly believe that insulating clothing is what provides the heat, but in truth, they prevent the loss of body heat and keep the elements at bay. The warmth you feel when wearing them comes from the clothing’s ability to reduce the loss of heat that’s generated by your body.
You should wear this layer of clothing any time the temperature isn’t warm enough for just a regular golf shirt.
A mid-layer can also be worn as an outer layer, or it can be worn between the shell and the base layer.
When it’s too chilly to wear a golf shirt alone or when the outer shell isn’t needed to fend off wind or precipitation, the mid-layer is what works as the barrier between the elements and you. In these conditions, a mid-layer that offers some degree of water and wind resistance, is preferred. This can include a standard wool or fleece pullover, sweater, or long-sleeved shirt.
In colder conditions, the mid-layer will be crucial in maintaining body heat. The outer layer and the base layer alone can only do so much in colder temperatures.
This layer of clothing should provide the insulation to your layering system. You’ll come across many different types of materials, each of which have their own pros and cons.
Fleece and Microfleece
Microfleece and fleece are terms that are often used interchangeably. However, fleece is the general term that’s used to refer to the thickness of the materials, while microfleece refers to the most flexible and thinnest of fleece.
Both microfleece and fleece are categorized as synthetic materials. It’s often made out of natural fibers and weighs much less than clothing made out of wool. Typically, fleece is made out of polyester. This material is very versatile and available in a wide range of thicknesses. The thinner microfleece is a very practical choice since it’s not bulky and dries quickly. It’s also a good choice for golfing because it’s not restrictive. Heavy or mid fleece is a much better choice for inactivity in colder temperatures, such as camping or walking.
Wool is a great natural insulator, and it can make the ideal mid-layer option for activities such as golfing or skiing. Hybrid wool clothing can be an even better choice, since it combines synthetic materials and wool to increase the clothing’s heat-trapping capabilities. Standard wool clothing can be expensive, but it’s a favorite mid-layer due to its warmth, comfort, and its ability to resist odor better than other types of materials. However, when it comes time to do laundry, dealing with Merino wool can be a hassle. Additionally, it lacks the weight to warmth ratio that you’ll get with clothing made out of down.
Mid-layers that are made out of synthetic materials may be a more practical option since it does a great job of keeping the wearer warm, and it’s available at a reasonable price. Synthetic material utilizes synthetic fibers to create a type of down-like material that can effectively trap heat. It will continue to insulate and keep you warm, even if you get wet. The best part, is that it dries impressively fast and is pretty easy to care for, compared to other materials, such as Merino wool.
Down is considered the best insulator out there, but for it to be effective, it must be kept dry. This means, you should only wear it in dry, cold weather. However, despite its powerful insulating properties, most types of down clothing are rather bulky, which means it can restrict your swing, which is exactly what you don’t want.
Synthetic Down Filling
Synthetic fill isn’t as compressible or as warm as a mid-layer that’s made out of duck or goose down, but they do make up for what they lack in compressibility, with resilience and impressive durability. This type of mid-layer won’t lose loft or warmth when it gets wet and it’s much more affordable compared to down. While there are many manufacturers that have their own preferred type of synthetic insulation, most top of the line synthetic down materials are comparable in loft, weight, and warmth. Synthetic down works well in wet conditions, and will continue to keep you nice and warm, unlike goose or duck down, which loses its ability to keep you warm if it gets wet.
Wet Weather Protection
There’s nothing like a chilly day on the course to speed up the pace of play. However, if you end up on the course in the wrong clothing, then you may be forced to call it quits early. What you need is clothing that will keep you comfortably warm and dry.
If you’ve checked the forecast and showers are to be expected, then you’ll want to avoid certain types of materials that are slow to dry or material that cannot continue to keep you warm if it gets wet.
If you’re wearing a mid-layer pullover or vest that’s made out of down, the layer’s ability to insulate will be compromised if it gets wet. Wool, fleece, or synthetic really shine in wet conditions since they can continue to insulate and keep you warm. However, it’s important to keep in mind that wool can become very heavy when wet. In terms of clothing with the ability to provide warmth even when wet, fleece is at the top of the class. It can also dry much faster than wool or synthetic materials.
On drier and warmer days on the course, a mid-layer that can provide some level of protection from wet weather, can be a nice bonus. This will allow you to wear it as a top layer. Of course, if you want a mid-layer that’s this versatile, then you need to make sure that it has some type of waterproof coating. A waterproof or water-resistant coating can make the clothing both water and wind resistant, adding to its versatility.
Another strong suit of wool, synthetic, and fleece insulation is breathability. Overall, fleece seems to offer higher than average breathability, thanks to its naturally porous design. Wool comes in second. This natural insulator does a great job of regulating temperature, while working to minimize any odors. As far as breathability goes, down comes in dead last. You need a mid-layer that offers excellent breathability, otherwise, you can easily become overheated, even in colder temperatures. A lack of breathability can also cause you to sweat excessively, which will make your base and mid-layer wet. This isn’t exactly comfortable. Because of this, I recommend sticking with materials that have a better than average breathability rating and steering clear of materials, such as down, that don’t.
Determining how durable a fabric is can be difficult, especially when you factor in the different levels of thickness that fleece has to offer. Clothing that’s thinner can be more susceptible to tears. In terms of insulation, wool and down have a longer lifespan, while synthetic materials have a reputation for packing out over time. Fleece offers an impressive level of durability.
Keep in mind, the almost constant friction between the outer layer and the mid-layer can cause potential tears and abrasions if a zipper catches on the outer shell. Fleece tends to be more susceptible to wearing thin, compared to other types of materials used for mid-layer clothing.
In order for a mid-layer to work efficiently and do its job of keeping you warm, it must fit properly. If there’s too much extra fabric, you’ll have general discomfort and bunching under your outer layer. If the mid-layer fits too snuggly, then it can restrict your swing and movements in general. You need to find that middle ground, where the mid-layer isn’t riding up and you have complete freedom of movement. You want to get rid of anything that has excess bulk. You need a mid-layer that offers an athletic fit, one that will move with you, won’t weigh you down, and won’t get in your way.
You also need to properly size the clothing, so you can layer a jacket on top. If the mid-layer is bulky, then throwing on an outer shell can feel very restrictive.
Hood or Hoodless
Most golfers prefer a hoodless mid-layer, especially those who want to add a thin outer layer for extra waterproof protection. A hood can easily bunch up behind the neck if you wear an outer layer. Obviously, this will make your clothing feel uncomfortable and cumbersome.
Mid-layers are very basic pieces, especially considering they’re designed to hide under a weatherproof outer layer. Some will have hoods and a limited number of pockets. Of course, most golfers won’t use the pockets of their insulating layers when they’re on the course, since it can be difficult to have to unzip the outer layer to access them. However, if you want to use just a mid-layer in favor over a top shell, then pockets will be a must.
Some long-sleeved shirts or pullovers will have thumbholes that are built into the sleeves. These holes help to keep the sleeves in place when you’re taking a swing or when you’re removing a layer. If you’re interested in a pullover that has this feature, check to make sure that the fabric that’s around the thumbhole has some flex to it, so it doesn’t feel like your thumbs will get yanked around each time you extend the arms or compromise your golf grip.
Types of Mid-Layers
Your clothing preferences will depend on several factors, including the conditions you’re willing to play in, and where you golf, in addition to other factors, such as the type of outer layer and base layer you use.
When you’re shopping for this type of clothing, you’ll mostly come across sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, hoodies, fleece pullovers, and vests.
The vest is considered one of the most versatile pieces in a golfer’s wardrobe. It keeps the midsection nice and warm and it’s easy to remove if the temperature starts to rise.
Thermal vests are a great option and can do an excellent job of keeping your core warm. Mid-layer vests should be thin enough that you can add an outer layer of clothing if the temperature drops. It should also offer superior breathability and moisture management properties.
A pullover is another essential piece of clothing and one that most golfers own. A basic fleece pullover can keep you comfortably warm, whether you’re wearing it alone over a base layer or you’re wearing it over a base layer and under an outer shell. Pullovers are very versatile and can be the perfect piece if you’re dealing with moderately cold temperatures.
An insulated jacket will be crucial on extremely cold days on the course. This type of jacket will work by trapping and retaining body heat. They’re also very easy to pack away when you no longer need them, thanks to their compressible filling.
Sweaters are made out of a wide range of materials. The best choices for your mid-layer on the course are merino wool or fleece. If you’re looking for a sweater that’s versatile, one that can be worn under an outer shell, then pay attention to the design and avoid sweaters that are very bulky, or those with excess material. This can make it difficult to swing smoothly or will be uncomfortable to wear under an outer shell.
Long-sleeved shirts that are made out of fleece or synthetic materials will offer the heat retention you’re looking for, in addition to a thinner design that makes it more comfortable to swing and doesn’t feel restrictive.
Also referred to as hoodies, hooded sweatshirts are usually made out of cotton, which can be a huge no, considering this material can fail to keep you warm if it gets wet, and is very slow drying. However, you will come across some hoodies that are made out of fleece, which offers excellent insulation and heat retention. For some, the biggest drawback to this type of mid-layer is the hood. Most types of hooded sweatshirts do not have a removable hood, which can feel cumbersome if it’s worn under an outer shell.
The best golf mid-layers can provide the insulating power you need, by trapping body heat and preventing the loss of heat in colder conditions. You can easily remove this layer of clothing, if the temperature starts to pick up, or you can rely on a mid-layer and wear it over the base layer and under an outer shell in freezing conditions. This guide can help you find the perfect mid-layer pieces to add to your winter wardrobe, so you’ll be sure to choose clothing for the course that’s insulating, breathable, and flexible.