Martin Hopley

If I asked you which type of golf equipment has experienced the greatest technological change in the last 20 years, what would you say?

Drivers? Golf balls? Well, for me the biggest advances for golf have come in clothing.

Those of you young enough to still look good in a modern, tight fitting, breathable, UV protecting, moisture wicking, highlighter coloured golf shirt may laugh at this.

However those of us still trying to wean ourselves off woolly jumpers remember the days when there was nothing that met the job description of 'waterproof' this side of a sheet of industrial polythene.

You know the light shower tops they give you after you have waded through the mud at festivals and sports events. Well, they were a similar quality to the protective trousers you used to keep your legs sort of dry for the first 9, only they had big open gaps for your hands.

Manufacturers gave up trying with jackets and you just put on enough sweaters to get a sweat up and ensure that the water, or the cold, or both, did not seep through to your skin before you got back to the clubhouse.

Forget titanium, graphite, steel, surlyn, the Haskell ball and all that. The material that has had the biggest effect on golf in my book is Goretex. Light, waterproof, windproof and breathable. Almost a miracle that we take for granted now. Keeps your body and especially your feet dry and warm and enables you to wear less layers so you enjoy it more and swing better.

It started the revolution in golf clothing that now continues with base layers as they move from the high impact sports fields to the golf course and even everyday wear. My physio says even builders and roadworkers are wearing compression tops to stay warm and help prevent injuries. And most of them look about as athletic as Craig Stadler and about as happy too.

I have already passed comment on the guys who kicked all this stuff off, Under Armour. Following in their footsteps are several other very good suppliers including FootJoy, Adidas and Skins. Now all this is moving to the next level as Under Armour Stability and now Equmen start to bring out base layers with specific golf designs that help to support your back and other muscles as they move through the golf swing.

Equmen say their Helix-Mapping in their Core Precision undershirt "builds physio taping techniques into every garment to reinforce and support the body's natural structure from the core." Basically it applies pressure to your muscle groups to support and engage them more so that they have more oxygen going through them so you perform better with less chance of injury.

Now I have to confess that I am addicted to all this base layering and I regret to say I have even worn it off the course too. The hard thing to get your head around is that it needs to feel tight to provide the maximum benefit, so no loose material in the small of your back.

Even for me this was hard to believe when I got my Equmen Core Precision longsleeve top on for a test recently. Out of the box the size large looked like something my 9 year-old would struggle to fit into, but the measurements they give on the site are correct. Just don't have a big lunch first.

It is a bit of an effort to get on and you may even need assistance to get it off, but once it is on you do feel very supported. Playing a full round in it was comfortable and the breathability was very good. Personally I would like to see a higher collar as the neckline was quite a low crew neck.

However this suits some of our cuddlier friends from across the pond who like the figure improving profile it gives you under their corporate armour as a sort of male corset. And if you have just started admitting to using male moisturiser to get rid of those wrinkles from last night, or the last 20 years, then you are already on the slippery slope to wearing compression gear to look slim. Well, it is easier, cheaper and less effort then the gym.

And it does not stop there. Compression shorts and leggings have been around for a while, but they can be a bit of a step up from compression tops.

Equment Compression SocksHowever, here is the future and why we will all be wearing this stuff soon. Tights.

Well, not really tights, but shorter compression leggings that cover your lower legs and calves.

Equmen's Precision Socks are essentially knee length socks made of compression material formally used for preventing DVB on flights.

With the punishment your feet and hence your legs get during a walk round 5 miles of modified farm land, compression socks or leggings (yes - I have both) are the business. You will be amazed how less tired you and your legs are after a round. And that will have a positive benefit on your game.

And believe me, you will want to wear them everytime you are going to walk anywhere that is more than 100 yards.

You can even get compression sleeves for just your arms now too.

Oh yes.

Join me in the revolution my friends and get totally addicted to base layering.


Facebook Comments