Rain gear is one of those areas you get what you pay for. Ask any serious golfer, and they’ll have at least one story about a gale force storm that came out of no where and dumped buckets of rain on them. The ones who have rain gear can keep playing, those who don’t run for the club house. There are really only two requirements for any piece of rain gear – it must be waterproof and windproof. Sun Mountain claims to have done these two things and more with their new RainFlex series.
Sun Mountain has had a long history of producing useful and effective accesories for golfers. Whether they are bags, speed carts, or apparell, go to any golf course and you’ll likely see Sun Mountain well represented in a variety of equipment categories. Their previous offerings in the rainwear categories have been extremely popular for their performance and outstanding value. Yet the company believes RainFlex will be the next big step in the evolution of rain gear.
What differentiates RainFlex from the other products on the market is its construction. RainFlex fabric is a knit nylon garmet rather than a woven nylon that is laminated to a waterproof membrane. While the fact that it is waterproof and windproof are pretty much given, the fact that it is a knit fabric gives it other advantages traditional laminated rain gear does not have. First is breathability, Sun Mountain claims that independent lab testing shows a vapor transmission rate seven times the minimum requirement. Secondly the material is quiet. Everyone knows the standard “swishing” sound that people make when they swing and walk in a nylon jacket. Since RainFlex is knit, it feels and sounds just like cotton. The most unique aspect of RainFlex is its ability to stretch and move with you as you swing. The knit fabric can stretch 100% across the shoulders and 30% from top to bottom, so there’s no need to buy a larger size to maintain range of motion throughout your swing. No matter how flexible you may be, RainFlex will not hinder any of your moves.
RainFlex garments come in a variety of styles and options, there is one to fit every golfer and climate. There is a fully lined full zip jacket with insulation for cold weather golfers, a long sleeve half zip jacket for golfers who encounter heavy rains but want less insulation, and short sleeve options for golfers in warmer weather climates. Being from Houston, Texas the short sleeve shirt was the only option for me to combat the heat and humidity I play my rounds in. Sun Mountain has been very proactive with the the number of colors options they provide in the RainFlex line. Whether your tastes are wild or tame, Sun Mountain has a color for you. Bright, modern colors and combinations with contrasting color blocks will help you stand out if you desire, but the basics of black and navy are still there for those who prefer a more subdued look. There are two types of pants, the standard RainFlex pant, and the more relaxed fit Sport Pant.
I recently went on a trip to Scotland, and took the Rainflex with me, knowing full well that I could likely experience every possible weather condition in the same trip. Sure enough, landing early in the morning in Glasgow, I found the skies sunny, calm, and clear. By the time my 3 o’clock tee time came around, the wind was blowing 30 miles an hour and strong bands of rain were coming off the Irish Sea. RainFlex did exactly what it promised, it was windproof and very waterproof. Despite heavy rains I had no problems with leakage anywhere. The collar is very well designed, it has some structure so it fits snugly around your neck and does a great job keeping water out without being overly constrictive or uncomfortable. The front pocket is the perfect size to hold a wallet, score card, and pencil and keeps things dry. The inside lining is a very soft brushed nylon which feels just like a t-shirt. It’s a very comfortable jacket to wear, even for long periods of time if necessary. The stretch is really where the fabric impressed me, it makes the garment absolutely unrestrictive. Making full swings is no problem, once you put the jacket on, you can really forget it’s there. It seems to dissapear since you don’t hear it, or even feel it on you.
Another great design feature are the waterproof zippers. Traditionally zippers have been an achilles heel of waterproof garments. Most manufacturers use large flaps of fabric over to cover the zippers and keep water out. Sun Mountian has gone to waterproof zippers with an outer covering on the zipper itself, just zip it closed and it’s sealed itself without any extra fabric or velcro closures. The zipper system works, and I had no problems with water seeping in through the zippers at any time. Breathability is quite good as well, I have yet to notice any excessive sweat or condensation. However, it’s diffiicult to know whether to attribute that to the RainFlex material or the wide open sleeves of the short sleeve shirt I chose.
The one problem I did have with the fabric is related to its knit nature. In light rains or the very first part of a storm, the fabric does a great job beading and keeping water off you. Water beads up and just falls right off. However, in heavy storms or prolonged rains, the fabric eventually stops beading and water soaks right into the fabric. This isn’t to say the fabric isn’t waterproof, the water never gets beyond the fabric and onto you. However, this does raise a rather unique problem. When the fabric gets wet and the wind starts blowing, or the air is cold, you can feel very cold. While this isn’t an issue where I live, in Scotland with the air temperature hovering in the 52 degree range, I quickly noticed it and went back to a traditional gore tex laminate with a durabile water resistant coating that continuously beads. However, in warm climates this is a non issue and actually helps keep you a bit cooler. If you play in cooler climates or are looking for a winter golf jacket, RainFlex may not be the best option for you.
I chose a Medium size on my jacket and was very pleased. I’m 5’7″ and average in build and the rain shirt fit me perfectly. However, this is a slightly tighter fitting garment than other products on the market. People with larger frames or those who simply want more room may need to go up a size. People who walk will also be glad to know that the material is also very lightweight and packable. I have no trouble fitting the jacket into my ultra-light carry bag. That’s great news since rain gear does you no good sitting at home if it’s too bulky or heavy to carry.
Rainflex does what is says and then some. It is completley waterproof and breathable, but more than that, it is the most flexible and comfortable rain gear on the market. It is well designed throughout and Sun Mountain has done a great job incorporating a fair amount of style into it for those who want it. Although people who constantly play in cold weather, this may not be your first choice, for summer and spring golf, this may well be the best rain gear on the market.
WRX Spotlight: Adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa Golf Shoe
The new Adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa, available in North America now, selling for $250 at adidas.com (only available on Adidas’ website, this shoe will not be at retail).
From Adidas: “The adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa® is the epitome of performance golf footwear, designed to offer micro-adjustability in two separate zones. The first is the independent main dial with high strength Boa lace that when combined with the forged 360 wrap creates unparalleled power for your swing by locking the area between your midfoot and forefoot. The second provides micro-adjustability from the middle to bottom instep for a customized fit, feel, and support. The Boa Fit System activates both zones to deliver the ultimate in power, stability, and performance.”
Our take on Adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa
BOA technology, a ratcheting cable system that replaces laces for securing the shoe, has been around for a while now. It was a radical departure when it first hit the market and traditionalists viewed it with some skepticism, but those who tried shoes using the system became hooked on the ease of use, secure feel, and reliability of the system. I have had to replace shoelaces, but I have never had a cable fail in a pair of shoes with Boa technology.
With the TOUR360 XT Twin Boa, Adidas has introduced the next step on Boa technology (pun intended). The shoe has a sleek, technology-forward look that is associated with Adidas products. It even looks good in the size 13 that I sport. The color selection is limited, to say the least. You can choose from white with green trim or white without green trim. But the star of the show is the Boa technology, which is implemented in two dials located on the outside of each shoe, replacing the one dial on previous iterations.
Each dial controls the fit for a different part of the shoe, and the ratcheting dial gives the wearer the most precise fit available. The real advantage over laces is that the Boa system stays secure longer and is easier to tighten than re-tying shoelaces. It’s so easy to reach down and give a couple of clicks that it became routine for me to check on each tee box to make sure I had a good fit before teeing off. Equally pleasing is the quick release on each dial that gets you out of your shoes at the end of a round without the terror of facing a wet double-knot.
The shoe is waterproof leather, and it is light and comfortable enough to walk 18 on hilly tracks. I personally would have preferred a slightly wider toe box, but that is nit-picking.
Overall, the Adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa is a performance shoe that promises, fit, comfort and stability, and it delivers on all fronts. Not everyone has $250 to drop on a pair of golf shoes, but if you want the tech on your feet to match the tech in your bag, then the Adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa is perfect for you.
WRX Spotlight: Linksoul golf apparel
Product: Linksoul golf apparel
Pitch: From Linksoul “Linksoul is more a philosophy than a brand. More of an experience than a clothing company. Linksoul is the collective life’s work of people who care about each other and enjoy collaborating. We believe in creating products we value, with the people we love, for the good of our families and our community. Our roots are in golf. We descend from a long line of golfers, craftsmen and artists. But now we fill our time with many interests, including surfing, skiing, hiking, yoga, travel, cooking, parenting, dog walking…We believe that these everyday practices teach us the most about ourselves.”
Our Take on Linksoul’s golf apparel
Linksoul, whose mantra is “Tempus Fugit” (Time Flies), primarily provides golf clothing made to be just as appropriate and comfortable to wear on the course as off of it. The company has a range of different types of polos, tee-shirts, shorts, and pants available, but it was a button-down shirt from the company which I was most intrigued to check out.
Right off the bat, the brand’s Anza Heathered Button-Down shirt impressed with its ultra-soft fabric. To complement that softness, the shirt is wonderfully light and boasts an excellent fit. The length of the shirt sleeves is ideal, so you won’t need to keep fidgeting before and after each shot, and the comfort and fit combined gives you that added flexibility in your swing. The collar fits naturally the moment you put the shirt on and marks the clear quality that went into its creation.
It seems many are on the fence about whether button-down shirts on the course are for them (I was one of those!), but my take now is that they are the ideal summer shirt on the course. In the heat, comfort has to be the number one priority, and the button-down structure gives you so much more air. With Linksoul’s Anza button-down you’ll experience maximum breathability.
Linksoul offers the shirt in six color codes (White, Black Heather, Tidepool Heather, Ink Heather, Dark Gray Heather, and Dawn Heather). For $80, considering the caliber of the shirt, the only gripe I could make is that there aren’t more exotic colors available!
The brand’s Boardwalker Shorts are another piece of apparel that I found to contain the perfect blend of comfort and quality, as well as looking great. The shorts contain a four-way stretch fabric which gives you a plethora of flexibility during your swing, while the weight of the shorts I also found to be on point. The shorts are lightweight but not so much as to take away from the durability and quality of the shorts.
There is plenty of mobility on offer with the Boardwalker Shorts, while I also enjoyed that the shorts are a classic style length and sit right at the knee.
You can choose from eight different color codes (Black, Chalk, Khaki, Dark Gray, True Black, Bronze, Navy, Army, and River), and the shorts retail at $76. With their no-fuss look, high quality, and a clear focus on comfort, Linksoul’s Boardwalker shorts offer everything you’d want in a pair of golf shorts.
For those that prefer to play solely in trousers, you’ll be glad to hear that the company provide the same product in a pant style—the BoardWalker Pant.
There’s a huge amount to like about the apparel Linksoul is offering up, and at prices which are extremely reasonable considering the quality provided. Their site Linksoul.com offers a multitude of polos, button-downs (in both short and long sleeve), shorts, pants, and tee-shirts. If high-quality adaptable golf apparel is your thing, then it’s a company well worth checking out.
WRX Spotlight: Air Jordan ADG golf shoes
Pitch: Via Jordan: “Jump up the leaderboard in the Nike Men’s Air Jordan ADG Golf Shoes. Famed for its incredible comfort and lightweight feel, the ADG features a Zoom Air unit for responsive cushioning and an integrated lacing system for a secure, supportive fit. The Integrated Traction pattern offers you enhanced grip on every terrain and the signature Jumpman logos give you extra style on the course.”
Our take on Air Jordan ADG golf shoes
Confined to the feet of Keegan Bradley for years, the iconic sneaker brand seems to have proof of concept in the golf space, as evidenced by the growing roster of tour players (Pat Perez, Harold Varner III), and numerous retail offerings.
We got to test one of said retail offerings: the just-released spikeless Air Jordan ADG. Now, the Jordan style may not be for every golfer (can’t imagine them catching on in Tuesday morning senior leagues across the nation), but if you like the look of Js on the court or street, you’ll love the look of these. Indeed, you’ll probably love the look of all Jordan offerings for the fairway, as the company has done an excellent job of bringing its aesthetic to golf, rather than the opposite (if that makes sense…tacking the Jumpman logo on a pair of saddle shoes was never going to work).
So, appearance wise, the elephant print leather upper and other signature brand elements look great (and the translucent sole is an awesome touch). However, when it comes to golf shoes, particularly of the spikeless variety, we’re always concerned about stability during the swing (both in terms of contact with the ground and within the shoe internally) and appropriate support/comfort for the five-plus mile trek that is a round of golf.
On both of the aforementioned fronts, these shoes are superb. You can feel the comfort and support the instant your heel hits the Jumpan Golf logo on the insole, and the shoes do everything you’d ask a spikeless shoe to do on course. Highly recommended; we look forward to seeing what his Airness’ cordwainers come up with next.
A look at the white colorway, via Jordan, below.
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