“I’d keep playing. I don’t think the heavy stuff’s going to come down for quite a while” is a line that is ingrained into our brains. I’m not a betting man, but I would bet that just about everyone reading this article has said this line…and more than once. We played in a three-man, two team per tee time, scramble and were stuck out on the course for six hours in the Oregon weather. I was thankful for spending the extra money on the better stuff to try to keep me dry, warm-ish (the tournament is called the Frost-Bite for a reason), and protected from the elements.
We all cannot live the snowbird life. If we want to play a comfortable round during the summer, it means we will probably have to be getting wet or cold during the fall, winter, and even into spring. One thing that we can all agree on is if we have to slog through standing water, lightning (NOT recommended unless you carry a 1 iron and can hold it up), and fight frogs from derailing your putt; we should at least be “comfortable.”
When we say comfortable, it is relative. We can try to dress like the loopers at Bandon, be dry, warm, make a bunch of noise when walking around and annoy our buddies (or foes, depending on your group), or we can try to dress like we are trying to have some sort of an athletic swing. I know for me, I have enough issues stemming through my six-inch game without having extra layers, noises, and random pinch points in my transition; and I don’t think that I am alone in that.
One topic among the forums is spending the extra money for fittings, special shafts, and even combinations of clubs and hopefully we see the results on the course. Rain gear and winter gear should not be viewed as any different. I mean, we spend 4-5 hours outside and even if there’s a breeze, we cannot fully utilize our $3K golf clubs without proper protection from the elements. From the special rain gloves (only time to wear two gloves is in the rain, sorry not sorry Tommy Two Gloves), breathable four-way stretch jackets that are wind and water resistant with dual direction zippers, to seam sealed pants that have specially engineered hooks that mimic fishing boots.
We have all seen the deal of “best rain gear for under $20.00” that floods our feeds and spam folders. But do they actually work? Well, everything works, but it depends on how long they will work. My friends and I have tried it all, from the lower price points on name brands, to the more boutique and expensive brands and they all serve a purpose and can work. But if you have enough ambition to golf in the rain, please do so comfortably!
Most of us were introduced to the Zero Restriction brand during the Match 2.0 when it started raining and somehow Tom Brady’s greatness blew out his normal pants. As we all laughed, paused the frame of him pulling the ball out of the hole, and continued the joke when Tom himself called out his pants for social distancing. He decided to dawn the high end gear on the next tee box with the Z2000 Pants and adding the Windstopper Rain Gloves as the Florida rain increased.
I decided to take a jump into the boutique realm when we got rained out in Las Vegas during a guy’s golf trip (62 Hawaiian Firefighters, and two of us Haoles in tow) because we had 2 inches of rain in less than an hour and the only jacket in my size was a Zero Restriction Z700 that touts a four-way stretch construction that is water repellent and lightweight. I didn’t even think of bringing any rain gear to Vegas, no one did, so I didn’t even look at the price until I got home and noticed the charge on the AmEx. The first thing that I noticed was that the arms actually moved, moved with the swing, moved with the hands, and didn’t stifle anything. I went to tighten the sleeves and noticed that instead of the Velcro that you get one, maybe two seasons out of, they had buttons that would snap together. This is when I knew it was a different level of jacket, the details are just insane, and nothing is overlooked.
With most of us on this trip being bigger guys, fueled by skins, KP’s and vodka ginger ales, we were all swinging pretty lose, some might say freely, so I didn’t pay much attention to the range of motion the first day. The real test was when I was home and threw the jacket on when playing in a cash game and had some people ask about the jacket. The reason was because the arms seem to move independently, and when I would swing, the vent would open up at times and they asked if I had ripped my jacket. Turns out, it was the “Modified Power Torque Back” that was serving the purpose of movement.
As we made the turn, most of the guys started changing their outer shell and I decided to push it and really test out the spandex and polyester twill. It rained an inch that day. We were out there wiping our brows, looking for plugged balls, and sometimes making the holes far too long as most amateurs do, and I was able to take off the jacket while sitting down to add up the bumps…and was dry! One aspect that most people ignore is that when you get wet, there is no way to get dry while on the course. This means you are now exposed to wind and a chill that even the meanest Irish Coffee can’t shake. I was nice and warm while settling up and decided I needed to add to my Zero Restriction collection.
When you first see the price tag for these jackets, you might be taken back as some will run more than $500.00 for a single piece of clothing, $88 for a pair of gloves, or $65 for a bucket hat. That is up there with suits for some guys, so I understand why this brand might be shrugged off. But hear me out, do it. Wait for sales. Wait till you see something you really like, or even try something on eBay if you dare. I have to believe that you will be impressed by Zero Restriction and their commitment to quality, materials, and craftsmanship. With their dedication and price point, they do offer some of their products with a full lifetime waterproof guarantee. That is unheard of with clothing, so you can be confident in their process and materials.
If you are like most of us and cannot give up the game due to a little rain, wind, while asking if the Good Lord would never disrupt the best game of your life, then check out Zero Restriction’s line and see what you like!