The Winter Golf Gear You Need
As a Michigander who plays golf year-round, I’ve gained a lot of valuable experience with cold weather golf. In spite of what golfers in warmer climes think, it is entirely possible to enjoy a round of golf when temperatures are below 50°F and even into the thirties.
I have played when it’s twenty degrees out, but acknowledge that is neither the norm, nor is it particularly sane.
The key to winter golf is the proper gear.
Clothing made of material that wicks away moisture is critical. Your body will sweat — even when it is cold — and if the fabric doesn’t transport that moisture, a layer of bone chilling sweat will build up.
Tops on the list is keeping the head warm (see what I did there?). My favorite winter hat is a Tilley Tec-Cork hat. The stylish fedora is waterproof and windproof and yet breathable. The brim helps to keep the low winter sun out of my eyes. I’ve also got one of their Tec-wool hats. For what it’s worth, my best summer hats also come from Tilley (Tilley Hats on Amazon)
To keep my core warm, I’ll wear my Bobby Jones XH20 vest on moderately cool days. For days when the temperature is in the 40s, I’ll don an Under Armour Coldgear vest (again, in the photo up top).
When temperatures really take a nose dive, I’ll wear a Galvin Green Dash Pullover. I reviewed that four years ago and it is still in my winter golf go-bag. The fabric is breathable, and quite warm.
One thing I’ve recently taken a shine to are a set of Galway Bay Thermal Water Resistant Sleeves (manufacturer’s site.)
The sleeves are a thermal fabric treated with Teflon so they repel water. The slide on easily, but stay put thanks to a rubber ring at the bicep that keeps them up, while not cutting off the blood circulation.
I’ve found that these sleeves work really well on cool, windy days. They protect exposed skin without adding bulk or restriction to the shoulders and torso.
As you can see in the photo at top, I’m wearing them along with a short sleeve shirt and a thermal vest. That was plenty for me on a sunny 40°F day.
Hands are a problem on winter golf rounds because I don’t like to play with gloves. I’ve got a couple of solutions. On the handles of my push cart, I’ve got a pair of fleece lined “UltiMittens.” While pushing my cart, I just slide my hands inside and they stay warm until that minute or so when I take them out to take a swing. (Ultimittens on Amazon)
On really cold winter golf days, I’ll put a couple of Zippo hand warmers inside (on Amazon).The hand warmers are essentially a catalytic converter. You fill it with lighter fluid and then heat the top of the burner. The heat catalyzes the fuel and generates heat without a flame. They’ll produce heat for six to eight hours on a full fueling.
On recent rounds, I’ve been using my new motorized Caddy Trek, so I’m no longer sticking my hands inside the Ultimittens between shots. My solution has been a Titleist Hand Warmer.
It’s basically just an insulated tube with a waist strap. I keep my hands tucked into it when walking (fortunately the remote control for the Caddy Trek works through the fabric) and slide it to the back when I’m ready to take a shot. One hand warmer is all that’s required in that set up.
However, when I finally am forced to slip on a pair of gloves, FootJoy Wintersof (on Amazon) are my go-to. I like the longer wrist cuff, and the fleece-like material is quite warm.
Wintersof gloves are nice enough that I have a couple of pair for going about town.
The big downside is that they are not at all waterproof. If I’m playing when there’s any sort of snow about, they very quickly lose their capacity to hold heat. In fact, they quickly become downright miserable.
If anyone has a suggestion for a nice winter golf glove that resists moisture, I’m all ears.
On my feet, it’s Smartwool or nothing. Wool is the original superfabric. (Smartwool on Amazon) Wool is breathable, wicking moisture away from the feet. It stays warm even when wet. The thicker yarns keep feet toasty warm.
I mention the thicker yarns because I actually wear Smartwool socks all year round. Their summer weight wool socks have the same moisture wicking properties and keep my feet cool and dry.
The Smartwool brand is notable because of the elasticized arch brace which keeps the sock from sliding around, and flat knit toe seams which prevent rubbing. I walk several hundred miles playing golf every year and I’ve never gotten a blister from Smartwool socks.
Trousers for winter golf are the last part of the equation. I’ve got pairs of both Adidas Frostguard Pants (on Amazon) and Under Armour ColdGear Infrared Golf Pants (on Amazon). Both are plenty warm and comfortable to play in.
Got some practical Winter Golf tips of your own. Add them to the comments!