The golf gear by Columbia Sportswear Co. got quite the baptism by fire. Or make that rain.
To test the technologies best known for the ski slopes, Columbia turned to the caddies at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort to break in their new rain gear. The caddies at Bandon Dunes see all kinds of weather on the remote Oregon coast four hours south of Columbia’s home base of Portland. The weather blowing in directly off the Pacific Ocean at the resort can bring hard rain and bone-numbing cold in between the rare moments of blissful sunshine.
The 300-plus caddies kept wearing out their rain suits until Columbia created a new line that holds its own against any kind of weather, while staying incredibly light, breathable, waterproof and flexible for the demands of walking. Today, all the caddies of Bandon Dunes wear Columbia golf gear. Die-hard golfers who don't let rain halt their round should follow suit.
The all-black Columbia Match Play Parka ($230) is both comfortable and comforting in any condition. Its Omni-Tech waterproof fabric keeps the rain out while allowing body moisture to move away from the skin. No feeling like a sweaty, cramped sardine trapped within. Playing in the rain is never fun, but at least you can't blame a bad swing on the Columbia rain gear. It acts like a coat but doesn’t feel bulky and restrictive like one.
You can keep the separate Ballistic II Windproof Fleece attached inside the jacket for extra warmth or easily snap it off and remove it for wet fall or spring days that aren’t too cold. The Match Play Pants ($140) complete to ensemble. Front pockets in the pants and jacket can carry golf balls and tees. The deep Velcro back pockets on the pants will keep a scorecard dry. Velcro at the bottom of the legs to ensure no wetness or dew sneaks in.
This fall, Columbia introduced a new fashion design for the Match Play Jacket and Match Play Pants that looks just as sharp as the all-black parka with a little more pizzazz in its look. The colors are a green plaid with yellow and white stripes. I wear the jacket and the parka to every-day outings, like soccer practices and football games, since they look and feel so casual. The fleece can easily be moved back and forth between the two as a liner.
Even Columbia golf shirts are designed for function and fashion. The Straight Shooter Polo ($70) is anchored by the same breathable back vent as on the parka. My solid orange and blue shirts are two of my favorites for golf because of their wicking, quick dry material. The fabrics even protect from harmful UV rays. The shirts don't feature the crest of a fancy golf club on their chest, but they feel and look just as good. Click here for more information.