Golf Rain Gear: Buying Guide

By Brent Zepp, PGA
Published on

Looking for new golf rain gear? Check out these valuable words from one of the experts in golf in inclement weather. PGA Professional Brent Zepp from famed Chambers Bay Golf Course.

If you call yourself a golfer, especially here in the Pacific Northwest like we are at Chambers Bay Golf Course, then you must be ready and willing to battle through any elements that may come your way. Unpredictable weather may mean that outerwear is one of the most important pieces of equipment you carry. Living here, we like to think our weather may resemble that of the British Isles better than any other segment of the country, and consequently, we take pride in our weather and in our rain gear! The most important rule of thumb is "Always be prepared," and you'll find if you follow this advice you will be fine. Another piece of advice you can take to the bank is that your attitude and the level of commitment you go into the round with will no doubt make or break your experience.

Now that you and your playing partners have committed to a foul-weather round, let's talk about what it takes to be prepared. There is a checklist of outerwear you are going to need to complete: rain jacket, rain pants, water proof shoes, umbrella, bag rain cover, baseball cap, knit cap, bucket hat, rain gloves and, for good measure, hand warmers. It is always a good idea when you are on a golf trip to bring two pairs of everything so that one set can have time to dry while the other set is getting wet. A good tip for getting wet gear dry as quickly as possible is to lay it all out in the bathroom with the fan on and the door closed. There may be nothing worse on a trip than to wake up in the morning knowing you are facing a cold, rainy day and then slipping on cold, wet shoes or a wet jacket. Another good tip for preparedness is to always carry a few Ziploc sandwich bags for storing leather gloves, wallet, cell phone and other important items that cannot handle the elements.

When it comes to buying a set of rain gear there are some very important rules to follow. Make sure your jacket and pants are "waterproof" and not water resistant. A manufacturer may only label a piece as "waterproof" if it is going to block the rain. When it comes to rain gear you get what you pay for so if the price is too good to be true it most likely is. Always read the tag on the gear and it will tell you some important information that may help you make your decision. Some gear may have a warranty and this can always be helpful. A two year waterproof guarantee is good and a three year is even better. Keep in mind when choosing a suit waterproof is not the only factor. All pants and jackets fit and feel different so make sure you are comfortable to play golf in the gear you choose. Another factor to take into consideration is the amount of noise generated, as some gear can be very stiff and loud when you are walking and that is not always the best etiquette when playing golf. Also when shopping, don't hesitate to ask the PGA Professional in the golf shop for help, as they know what they are talking about and would love to help you choose the right suit.

After choosing a proper rain suit, shoes may be the most important piece of equipment for surviving the elements. Your shoes should always have at least a two year waterproof guarantee and be very comfortable. If a shoe doesn't fit right when it is seventy and sunny it is going to be a real problem on a rough winter day. Rain gloves are very important when playing in the rain. When you can no longer keep your leather glove or your grips dry it is time to put your rain gloves on and keep them on. These gloves will give you complete confidence that your grip will not slip during your swing and you will keep your leather glove fresh for your next dry round. Hats are also very important for your success and enjoyment on the course. Always carry three hats in your bag and be ready to use them when you need them, a baseball style cap to block a little wind or rain, a knit cap to keep the ears and head warm and a bucket rain hat to keep your head dry. The bucket hat will not only keep your head dry but it will keep the rain from finding its way down the collar of your shirt. It is not unheard of to wear all three at once (just ask the caddies at Bandon Dunes) and I have even seen them wear all three hats in the middle of the summer. Make sure you find your golf bag rain cover and install it, as that cover can make the difference when it comes to trying to keep your gear dry. While I am not a huge believer in carrying an umbrella, if you need to use one, just make sure it is the wind-proof or it may not make it to the end of the round. Last but not least, have a hand warmer in each jacket pocket so in between shots you can try and get a little feeling back in the fingers.

Remember your attitude and your preparedness is going to make or break the experience. I have always felt the player who is ready for the day and is most accepting of the weather is the one who will prevail. Playing on a blustery day can make for some of the best memories of your golfing career so don't let the weather stop you, embrace it and be ready for some amazing moments. Every tough winter morning when I stare into the face of a passionate golfer who may be thinking about cancelling a tee time and heading back home to tackle the honey-do list, I tell them, "How do you plan on getting practice for your next trip to Scotland or Bandon unless you get out there today? This day was made for you!" Take my advice, buy good golf rain gear, be ready and don't let the weather scare you away from a great day on the golf course.