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Cold-weather apparel, golf shoes (and even balls) extend season

Kiel ChristiansonBy Kiel Christianson,
Equipment Editor and Senior Writer
Ecco Casual Cool GTX Shoes
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Ecco's Casual Cool GTX line is toasty warm and smokin' hot. (Courtesy Ecco USA)

Do you live in a locale where the golf season dies with the leaves? Equipment Editor Kiel Christianson recommends cold-weather gear such as Ecco's Casual Cool GTX golf shoes to allow you to squeeze a few more rounds out of the season before the snow flies.

PEORIA, Ill. - So I'm standing on the first tee of Weaver Ridge Golf Club in Peoria two days after Thanksgiving. It's 42 degrees, partly cloudy, a bit breezy, and my group consists of the only four golfers on the entire course.


Maybe I should qualify that.

It's perfect because I am with my regular foursome, and we're on a golf course that has been ranked 37th on one of those Best Courses You Can Play lists. We wait for no one, and we won't hold anyone up looking for the occasional ball here and there in the leaves.

Best of all, I'm bedecked in some of the best cold-weather golf gear available, and to be completely honest, I never got even the least bit chilled through 18 holes, driving a cart with no windshield - even when the sun slanted low in the dingy autumn sky.

Ecco Casual Cool GTX shoes

Any farmer, soldier or golfer knows that when your feet are unhappy, you're unhappy. Conversely, happy feet, much happier golfer.

The new GTX line of Ecco Casual Cool golf shoes ($200, www.eccousa.com) keeps your feet very happy indeed with a Gore-Tex lining guaranteed to keep feet cozy and dry in even the harshest cold-weather conditions.

The striking black, orange and white color combination is also perfect for the fall season.

Ahead Convertible Vest

I don't like bulky jacket sleeves when I swing, so I prefer vests for outerwear. The Convertible Vest by Ahead ($111, www.aheadweb.com) is not only soft - silky, almost - flexible and completely non-crinkly, but also waterproof and windproof.

Best of all, if it had started to drizzle, or even snow, that day, I could have pulled a James Bond and unzipped the bottom compartment to unroll a polyester hooded rain slicker to pull up over the outside of the vest and over my arms and head.

I demonstrated this feature for a couple of these guys and I am pretty sure the initial chuckles turned more respectful after they saw how dang convenient that rain jacket could be.

Dunning Interface Thermal Sweater

Bulk is definitely out when it comes to golf wear, even when it's just a few snowflakes shy of winter. Dunning has several lines of proprietary fabrics, and the Interface Thermal Sweater ($79, www.dunninggolf.com) is ideal for keeping heat in while allowing any excess moisture out.

And trust me, even on a cold day you can begin to sweat when a very respectable front nine crumbles in the face of a triple-bogey on an easy par 3. Trust me.

Finally, your balls

No, not those, you sick, twisted duffers.

(Though come to think of it, you'd best keep them warm, too.)

I'm talking about golf balls that can perform in near freezing temperatures. Low-compression golf balls are best when the mercury is likewise low.

One of the newest low-compression offerings is Nike's KARMA ($28/dozen, www.nikegolf.com). This is a 50-compression pill supposedly designed for slower swing-speeds. Now, my swing has had a lot of adjectives attached to it, but "slow" has never been one of them. Nevertheless, the KARMA performed admirably for me.

In fact, in a quick comparison with the Titleist So-Lo, the KARMA flew 10 yards farther, and felt better around the greens. These results were similar to those of the Srixon Soft Feel, which would be another good cold-weather bet.

Speaking of karma, I wonder if the golf gods look kindly on us Northerners as we wring the last few rounds out of the withering season. If so, perhaps they'll reward us with a fast start come springtime…

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Ahead Convertible VestDunning Interface Thermal CT SweaterNike KARMA Golf Balls

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.

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