When you think about playing a round of golf, you’re probably imagining the sun shining, blue skies, and warm weather, but believe it or not, there are many golfers who also enjoy playing golf year-round. Staying warm and enjoying the game you love, even in cold weather, is all about what you wear and learning how to layer your golf clothing.
Learning how to properly layer your clothing and choosing layers that are made out of the right types of materials, will allow you to stay warm, and will keep your muscles nice and flexible, so you can enjoy spending hours on the course.
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Enjoying Golf Year-Round
In the past, golfers would wear a thick, insulated jacket made out of wool, with winter golf gloves, thick trousers, and boots, out on the course. As you can imagine, taking a swing with all that clothing was anything but smooth and easy.
These days layering our golf clothes has solved the problem of a hindered golf swing, but many golfers don’t know how to layer, while others aren’t aware of the benefits of layering or how it works.
The clothes you wear on the course aren’t just designed to make you look good. Your clothes are supposed to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. The golfing industry may have produced bulky winter golf wear in the past, but these days, clothing manufacturers have wised up, producing winter clothing that’s thin, comfortable, and designed to keep you warm and dry, even in rainy weather. However, learning how to layer can take a little practice and some experimentation. The correct combination of clothing will allow you to perform at your best, whatever the weather conditions. But it will be up to you to choose the right combination, based on weather conditions and external temperatures.
For golfing, you’ll choose three layers of clothing. These layers will consist of an outer, or top layer, a mid-layer, and a base layer.
If you love golf, and you don’t want to store your clubs away for the winter, then wearing, flexible, but warm clothing in layers, can allow you to practice your swing and work on your short game, without hampering your style.
Let’s kick out this winter wear guide by going over the basics of layering.
How to Layer
Layering your clothing is a smart move. Why? Because as the weather heats up ( or you do) you can shed a layer or two and stay comfortably warm. Of course, when you layer, you’ll want the waterproof layer on the very top. If the sun comes out, you can easily peel off an outer layer or two, to prevent sweating. If the sun makes an exit, you can put the outer layers back on.
The base layer is worn right next to the skin. It will help with moisture management, pulling the moisture away from your skin. The base layer should follow the contours of your body, which will help keep you warm in freezing conditions. A good base layer will generate plenty of warmth, helping you swing more freely.
In cold weather, thermal underwear is a must. Just make sure the underwear you choose is made out of moisture-wicking material. This will pull sweat away from your skin to prevent irritation and heat rash, should the temperature rise. Thermal underwear that’s made out of compression material will reduce friction against the skin.
Base layer clothing that’s specifically designed for the golfer will support and warm muscle groups that are used in the golf swing, including the shoulders and upper back. This can help to reduce the risk of muscle strains or tears.
Base layers that are made out of compression material will fit tighter and can improve circulation, while boosting stamina by stimulating oxygen levels.
The clothing that plays a key role in thermal regulation is the mid layer. The mid layer provides additional insulation that will keep the body comfortable and warm by trapping heat that’s generated by the body. Mid layers that are designed for colder weather are made out of stretchy, soft materials that will snuggly fit the body, but will not restrict your golf swing.
A good mid layer should also be breathable, allowing excess heat or moisture to move away from the body, for easier evaporation.
This layer of clothing is very versatile but can be susceptible to external weather conditions. In wet weather, it can provide the perfect intermediate layer between an efficient windproof or waterproof top layer and a warmer base layer.
Lightweight Top Layers
A lightweight top layer, also referred to as the outer layer is the weatherproof protective layer. This layer will provide you with maximum protection against windy weather and rain.
A lightweight jacket that’s well-insulated will keep the wind out and lacks the type of bulky design that can have a negative impact on your range of motion when you’re taking a swing. Lamb’s wool sweaters or a light knit jacket are both great options. Both are waterproof and come equipped with a windproof lining that provides extra protection, so you’ll stay nice and warm.
A top layer can be windproof, showerproof, or waterproof. You must choose the outer layer with care and ensure it’s perfect for the conditions you’re about to face on the course for the day. However, it should be made out of material that’s moisture wicking and breathable, so it doesn’t cause you to start sweating excessively after your muscles have warmed up.
A set of golf waterproofs is one of the most important pieces of gear you can own, if you play golf in the winter. Over the years, waterproofs have changed significantly. Once fabrics like GoreTex entered the market, companies that normally produced hiking and surfing gear began to use these special types of fabrics for golf waterproofs. When you’re shopping for the best golf waterproof, you need to look for a comfortable fit and a water resistance guarantee. Many of the top brands specialize in making lightweight, playable, quiet rain gear.
Different Layering Combinations Based on the Weather
Layering is all about using different types and combinations of materials that will keep you comfortable and dry in inclement weather. Below, you’ll find some examples of combinations you can try in cold, windy, and rainy conditions.
In cold, rainy weather, try wearing:
- A compression base layer
- Thermally insulated mid layer
- Waterproof outer layer
- Pants and jacket that are windproof
- Thermally insulated mid layer
- Compression base layer
Moderate Temperature/Light Rain
- Lightweight rain jacket
- Lightweight base layer
- Standard golf shirt
You can try out different top, mid, and base layers, depending on the weather, which will allow you to comfortably play a round in windy or rainy conditions.
Winter golf shoes offer more protection than standard golf shoes and are specifically designed for use in colder weather. Many pairs are waterproof and designed to prevent moisture from entering the shoe, yet the shoes will allow moisture (sweat) to exit the shoe, so your feet remain comfortable and dry.
During the winter, wearing sunglasses can be particularly important. The eyewear you choose should provide protection against harmful UV rays, while also working to keep the sun, rain, and wind, out of your eyes.
You never want to be caught playing golf in the winter without some type of protection for your head. A significant amount of body heat can be lost if you don’t cover your head. Fortunately, there are several styles of winter golf hats to choose from.
Caps, outback hats, or bowler caps will all do a great job of keeping your head warm and dry. These hats have a wool felt lining that improves durability and helps the hat to retain its shape.
If the golfing dress code at your club allows beanies, then go for it. These hats are affordable, warm, and can easily be stashed in the pocket of your golf bag, if the temperature rises. Most types of beanies are made out of synthetic materials that are water-resistant and designed to provide warmth, even in windy conditions.
Standard Golf Cap
Some golfers refuse giving up their usual cap, even in colder conditions. If you can’t hit the course without your traditional cap, then you can purchase a fleece band that fits around your ears and can keep them nice and toasty while you play.
Will Wearing Layers Impact My Golf Swing?
It can, but not if you choose your clothing wisely and invest in some high-quality compression clothing.
Compression clothing made by some of the top manufacturers, such as Nike or Under Armour, will allow you to stay warm, without adding a lot of bulk, which can impede your swing. If you’re playing in temperatures that are above forty degrees, you can play in a simple compression shirt, traditional golf shirt, and a vest. As long as you keep your hands and head warm, you can get away with wearing less on the rest of your body. You need to layer appropriately and ensure that none of the base layers are made out of cotton materials, since cotton will just absorb sweat, keeping the wet material close to your skin. This will make you pretty miserable on the course. A base layer that’s made out of cotton means you’re not going to make it through all eighteen holes. Play it smart and go for synthetic materials that will pull the moisture away from your skin, keeping it dry.
Changing Your Swing
If you’re playing in temperatures under forty degrees, then you may need to add a thicker outer layer, to stay warm on the course. However, most golfers will avoid this if possible, since thicker clothing can often make it difficult to swing smoothly. When you wear bulky layers of clothing, you’ll find that your swing is shorter, which can make timing it correctly, difficult. You’ll need to accept that you won’t be able to hit the ball as far in cold weather as you do in summer. Try to focus on making rhythmic, simple swings.
Layering your golf clothing will keep you warm and comfortable, if you enjoy playing golf year-round. Not everyone can afford an expensive vacation to a warmer climate during the fall and winter months. Layering your clothing and purchasing a few extra accessories can prevent heat from escaping and will allow you to remain relaxed, warm, and able to make it to all eighteen holes. Playing golf in colder temperatures can be a lot of fun, and it can be a great way to get some exercise in the winter, especially if you’ve been stuck indoors due to inclement weather. Just make sure you’re prepared for freezing temperatures, pace yourself, and don’t forget to have a good time.