Most women can easily pull something out of the closet that makes them feel cute and confident on a nice sunny day of golf. It’s not so easy when it’s kinda cool and cloudy, but could get warm if the sun comes out or frigid if the wind comes up -- or wet if the rain comes down, which it surely will again.
That nice, sunny day might be expected at Bandon Dunes in Oregon June through early fall -- but the changeable "iffy" day can sprout any time of year.
Bandon Dunes associate head professional Amy Pendergast went into her shop and outfitted Kris Valencia, 22, in the latest survive-the-elements gear for women golfers. Ironically, we photographed her on what the locals described as one of the 10 best days of the year on the Oregon Coast.
And by the way, Kris is not a model. She is, in fact, a caddie at Bandon Dunes – and one who has earned an excellent reputation for reading the greens.
“It’s all about layering,” Amy Pendergast said. “You start with a polyester compression layer, then add fleece, then something waterproof.”
When most of us already feel we have 10 pounds too many, that sounds like mirror madness. But the manufacturers are making the most light-weight and sleek outerwear ever. Gone is the bulky, band-at-the-waist pullover, replaced by a trim, fitted silhouette tapered at the waist. And the golfer’s version of the skier’s fattening down vest combines style and upper-body freedom of movement.
“Vests are one of our biggest sellers,” Pendergast said. “The idea is core warmth that doesn’t restrict your arms.”
That’s why they’re great for temperate coastal days that may have a bit of nip or breeze in the air. The Capri pants from Adidas are a fashionable solution to maybe-warm, maybe-cool forecasts – and a great answer to stodgy country clubs still trying to tell women how many inches their shorts can go above the knee. If you’re worried about white, this stretchy fabric is thick enough to conceal undergarments – yet, its CoolMax Pro Dry Plus properties allow for hot weather wear.
Now, say it’s really raining. This does happen at Bandon Dunes, and if you’ve gone to the trouble of finding your way to this somewhat remote but treasured golf destination, you are not going to go hide in the Bunker Bar.
For those days, Pendergast said, you want pants and jacket that are guaranteed waterproof. These will probably have Goretex in the fabric (tip: wash your GoreTex as seldom as possible to preserve its waterproof properties), but the key for keeping dry is seam sealing. It’s labor intensive, which is why these items are so expensive. (Nike’s Storm-Fit Elite pants, for instance, retailed for $200).
You want a great umbrella and rain gloves, and, especially, the right head gear. Kris likes the golfer’s choice for a rainy day, the bucket hat in GoreTex. But on the cold and rainy day, Pendergast said, the trick is to put on a baseball-style cap and then pull a beanie over the top down over the ears. The bill keeps rain out of the eyes, and the double layering keeps the head warm and dry.
And if you’re the kind of GottaGoGolfer who thinks, even on the worst of days, it’s all about the shoes, don’t forget to check out the men’s shelves (generally, two sizes lower than your women’s size). That’s where we found the Nike Bandons Kris loved; they rise over the ankles and offer an extra, zippered waterproofing layer.
This article first appeared in the premiere edition of GottaGoGolf Magazine.