T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Golf tips: Layer up for cold weather without hindering your swing
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 | 10:23 a.m.
In many areas around the country, golf season is quickly winding down.
Colder weather is moving in and, before we know it, our favorite courses will most likely be covered in snow.
Before that happens, you're going to want to sneak in as much last-minute golf as you possibly can. But what about those dropping temperatures? Playing golf in a snowsuit sure doesn't seem like it would be any fun.
Thanks to advances in the fabrics used for cold-weather gear these days, you don't have to get dressed like Ralphie Parker's little brother, Randy, from A Christmas Story.
When it comes to playing golf in cold weather, PGA Professional Rob Labritz insists there are two major factors to keep in mind:
1. It's all about being comfortable -- make sure you're warm, but your gear isn't bulky.
2. You shouldn't worry about making a fashion statement in the cold.
"The thinner you go and the more treated, the more expensive it is," Labritz said. "You can go all sorts of routes. The internet is your best friend when it comes to this stuff for research. There are really some great deals to be had if you're looking in the right places."
"It's a thin, tight, base layer that isn't giving off any kind of thickness, but it's warm," he said. "I recommend Under Armour, but if you want to spend a little more money, Lululemon has some great options to consider as well."
Not getting "bulky," obviously requires as few layers as possible. That's why Labritz fetches for either a sweater or a long-sleeved shirt that's a polyester blend.
"It's just easier to wear than cotton in the cold because the polyester is just stretchier than cotton," he said.
Now that your base- and mid-layers are covered, it's time to move into the outer layers. That, Labritz said, is where it can really get expensive... particularly if you're concerned about "looking good" rather than just "being warm and comfortable."
"Of course there's fantastic, expensive stuff out there that you can find out there that will keep you warm and you'll look great in it," Labritz said. "But, as we touched on earlier, there are deals to be had. Keep in mind that you're likely only going to be wearing this stuff a couple of times per year and it's not something you're going to be replacing on an annual basis."
While Gore Tex is king for the outer layer, there are cheaper offerings that are effective.
"They have high-end fabrics that are treated with a rain repellent that makes it warmer and water resistent," Labritz explained. "It's not Gore Tex stuff, but it will repel a little bad weather. Those are your three layers and they're all thin. They're made for golf. Now you're swinging like a champion. You get used to the tightness, but it's not bulky."
Through a quick internet search, Labritz actually found a waterproof John Daly Rain Suit for $79.99 -- for the jacket and the pants.
For $149, you could have Labritz's go-to pants for playing in cold or wet weather -- the all-weather pants from Galway Bay Apparel.
"I love them because they're light and the fit just like a regular golf pant," he said. "It's a very cool pant. It's a lined pant with a rain-pant outside with almost like a thin rubber on the inside, but it looks like a pant and is super warm. I wear it when it's below 60 degrees."
If you're looking for a little more and have the extra cash, Gore Tex is the answer. It can range in price from the hundreds and even into the thousands.
"When you get into the Gore Tex, it's a fabric -- a membrane that contains over 1.4 billion microscopic pores per square centimeter," he said. "These pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet but 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule. That makes Gore Tex completely waterproof on the outside, but it breathes on the inside. If you find Gore Tex for under a couple hundred, you're doing well, but you want to be sure it breathes. It'll just get too hot and nasty."
So, if you're looking for some great cold weather gear, know what you want ahead of time and then do your research on the internet.
While you might live by the old adage, "You get what you pay for," just remember that in this instance -- if you're looking in the right places -- what you pay for doesn't necessarily have to mean you're breaking the bank.
Rob Labritz, who has played in four PGA Championships (he was low-Club Professional in 2010 at Whistling Straits), is currently the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in BedFord Hills, N.Y. He was also the PGA Met Section Player of the Year in 2008, 2013 and 2016, as well as the Westchester Golf Association's Player of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2015. You can learn more about Labritz at www.RobLabritz.com and you can follow him on Twitter, @Rlabritz.