While the only clouds at the 2016 Ryder Cup were the metaphorical ones hovering over the defeated Europeans at Hazeltine Golf Club, waterproofs are an essential kit for the golfer.
As all golfers playing in autumn know, rain is only ever a few minutes away – not having waterproofs can kill a round quicker than a dose of the shanks. And unlike the 24 European and American pros who competed for the biennial trophy, we mere mortals must purchase our rain-retardant gear ourselves.
Now, the all-weather golfer has specific requirements for their water-retardant jacket and slacks. For one, their swing should not be impeded by the jacket especially around the armpits. Also the trousers should be quick to slip on standing up in a downpour while wearing their potentially bulky golf shoes.
The following sets of golf waterproof jackets and trousers have been tested during torrential rain on a waterlogged North London course – the only time we’ve ever booked a tee time while hoping it rains cats and dogs.
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1. Ping Tour Eye Jacket and Trousers: £169.95 and £137.95, Golf Online
Breathable, lightweight and waterproof, this jacket does not affect the most fragile of golf swings (like ours). And it’s probably the most stylish waterproof reviewed – it affords the user fully waterproof pockets, without the hefty price tag. In addition to the trousers being easy to take on and off, they’re also breathable.
2. Galvin Green Addison Waterproof Jacket and ALF trousers: £259.95 and £189.95, American Golf
Galvin Green, the official Ryder Cup provider of waterproofs, uses the super-dependable, breathable Gore-Tex material to make all its waterproofs. The trousers and jacket are easy to put on and the half-zip jacket allows golfers to tighten cuffs and play with minimal resistance. In addition to the trouser hems being adjustable, they’re reinforced to prevent them ripping or rotting. While the most expensive choice, the set is hard-wearing, light and folds up small in your golf bag.
3. Lyle & Scott Yarrow Jacket and Nairn Waterproof Trousers: £250 and £125, Lyle & Scott
This jacket is a fitted and stylish choice, as would be expected from a brand well known on the high street as well as the fairway. It’s also one of the heavier and warmer jackets we tested – it may prove too hot for those who prefer layers under a waterproof jacket, as its wetsuit-like wrist cuffs can be sweat-inducing. The trousers prove more breathable, fitted with waterproof zips and with a slim fit worthy of Milroy or Fowler. If you regularly play links courses in strong winds such as Royal Troon or St Andrews, this could be the best option for you.
4. Sunderland Vancouver Jacket and Trousers: £79.95 and £54.95, The Golf Shop Online
A relatively cheap option from a tried and tested brand, these waterproofs are good at holding out against the heaviest of rain while offering an impressive array of colour combinations from conservative blacks and blues to lime green and luminescent yellow. The trouser pockets are fitted with Velcro allowing for quicker access than other zip options.
5. FootJoy DryJoys Tour XP Jacket and Trousers: £159 and £125, Function18
This jacket from FootJoy is lightweight and well-fitted, with the ability of packing away into a smaller than average golf bag. Both the jacket and trousers are breathable without losing their ability to keep out water. The trouser legs narrow at the hems to avert the worry of fabric being dragged through the mud.
6. Callaway Green Grass 3.0 Jacket and Trousers: £84.99 and £64.99, Function 18
These are the cheapest waterproofs reviewed, but the Callaway option offers comfort and freedom of movement. The cut of the jacket is not the most flattering with an inability to hold up to the same amount of rain as the jackets above but the trousers are trustworthy with an ability to tighten the waist for those who fluctuate in weight. For those on a budget (again, relative), this would be the best option.
7. Oscar Jacobson WPS Mickey Tour Jacket and Trousers: £94.99 and £119.99, Clubhouse Golf Direct
The jacket holds its own against waterproofs twice the price with waterproof zips, and it’s lightweight. The trousers wide cut style help avoid any unnecessary shoe mud being smeared on the internal lining. The waist band has a tacky surface which prevents the trousers slipping down. The material used to make both jacket and trousers produces little noise during the swing – avoiding any unwanted distraction to the player – although the trousers can make the leg sweat slightly.
The Verdict: Golf waterproofs
Our pick of the bunch is the Ping Tour Eye which does all you need while looking fly enough for Europe Ryder Cup rookie and Ping ambassador Andy Sullivan. Our advice: don’t rush to buy waterproofs, as getting the wrong ones is not a cheap mistake to make. Even if you don’t have the chance to test-run them on the course, ask to swing a club while wearing them. Also see how long it takes you to put them on while wearing your golf shoes.
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