Choosing to be a fair-weather golfer isn’t really an option in the UK, a place where clouds emerge over sunny fairways from nowhere and forecasts are regularly made to look foolish.
Most golfers will have uttered phrases like “it wasn’t meant to rain” while standing on the first tee, desperately trying to fish out a hood from the bottom of their bag to protect their clubs. It is moments like this when the waterproof rain jacket comes into its own as an essential piece of on-course kit.
Golf jackets are not a straightforward concept: they must be hardy enough to keep you dry but light enough that you might swing a club without interference; thick enough to keep you warm yet not so much that you overheat as you march around with 10 kilos on your back.
The ideal jacket should be more like an invisible cloak, something you almost forget you’re wearing, that makes you almost oblivious to the rain too. Luckily there are plenty of high-quality options on the market which each strike their own balance.
How we tested
We tested a range of products on the course over several weeks, in some less than pleasant conditions, judging their adaptability, comfort, style and value for money to see which worked best. We even put them through a 10-second shower test to gauge their waterproof qualities.
The best men’s golf jackets for 2021 are:
Best overall – Sunderland of Scotland whisperdry pro-lite waterproof golf jacket: £150, Glenmuir.com
Best value – Puma ultradry golf jacket: £110, Scottsdalegolf.co.uk
Best swing feel – Callaway stormguard II jacket: £149.95, Golfonline.co.uk
Best luxury buy – Kjus pro 3L 2.0 jacket: £349, Kjus.com
Best in heavy rain – Under Armour storm proof waterproof golf jacket: £109.99, Clubhousegolf.co.uk
Best budget buy – Island Green waterproof stretch breathable golf jacket: £48.99, Golfbase.co.uk
Best for cold weather – Glenmuir callander padded hybrid jacket: £75, Snaintongolf.co.uk
Best lightweight jacket – Adidas rain.rdy jacket: £119, Function18.com
Sunderland of Scotland whisperdry pro-lite waterproof golf jacket
If you are after something lightweight and quiet in the golf swing then Sunderland of Scotland’s whisperdry pro-lite jacket is the perfect fit. It is simple and sleek in design, but hidden away are various adjustable straps and toggles to make sure the sleeves, hem, body and even neckline are how you want them on the course, so that it should never get in the way. This jacket did well in our water resistance test and feels flexible, designed with “four-way stretch fabric”. It can also be embroidered with the golfer’s initials or even the Ryder Cup logo from Whistling Straits, should you want to be reminded of that particular sporting hiccup. It is among the more expensive jackets we tested, but it makes for an excellent waterproof on the course.
Buy now £150.00, Glenmuir.com
Puma ultradry golf jacket
The first thing to note is that Puma’s offering is a nice-looking thing, with flashes of colour on the luminous yellow zip and logo to brighten the jet-black body. It is extremely lightweight and the sleeve cuffs are adjustable to keep the hands free to play. Made from 100 per cent nylon fabric which feels stretchy and malleable in action, it has just enough about it to keep you warm on colder days too – a great blend of feel and protection from the elements. It is fairly priced and performed excellently under our waterproof test, too.
Buy now £110.00, Scottsdalegolf.co.uk
Callaway stormguard II jacket
Best: Swing feel
Callaway is always a reliable brand on the golf course and this jacket lives up to that reputation. The design is pleasing to the eye, while the jacket manages to find the sweet spot between lightweight and heavy duty protection from the elements, with a cosy neckline as a treat. It performed well in our waterproof test but the element which sets it apart from its competitors is the unique sleeve design, with a tight inner cuff, that grips the wrists and feels extremely secure as you take a swing.
Buy now £149.95, Golfonline.co.uk
Kjus pro 3L 2.0 jacket
Best: Luxury buy
The pro 3L 2.0 is everything you could want in a rain jacket on the course. Kjus say it has analysed every type of golf shot to make its X-stretch panels move with the shoulders and back through your round, and it certainly lives up to its tagline of “feel the swing, not the jacket”. It passed our waterproof test with flying colours and it looks good too, all menacing black with flashes of the Kjus white logo. The challenge here is the price – at £349 this premium product comes with a premium price tag, but if you take your golf seriously and you’re willing to spend more on something carefully crafted and beautifully put together, it’s a great choice.
Buy now £349.00, Kjus.com
Under Armour storm proof waterproof golf jacket
Best: In heavy rain
Under Armour’s jacket has the feel of something hardy against the rain with an almost rubbery quality to touch, and it came out extremely well in our waterproof test. It comes with adjustable cuffs and hem and a “storm flap” over the zip which adds a nice twist to the simple, clean aesthetic. It is not as light as some of the jackets we tested but it certainly doesn’t feel heavy on the shoulders either. Under Armour has carved out a good chunk in the market with its golf apparel, particularly its polo shirts, and the storm proof jacket lives up to that reputation. We recommend erring on the smaller side if you’re someone who is usually in between sizes.
Buy now £109.99, Clubhousegolf.co.uk
Island Green waterproof stretch breathable golf jacket
Best: Budget buy
Another very lightweight jacket that fits the mould of staying quiet during the swing. It is a simple but effective design with an adjustable hem, sides and sleeves, two front pockets and a neckline that sits underneath the chin and doesn’t bother you as you play. It came through our waterproof test reasonably well and as the lowest priced jacket of those tested, it’s certainly good value for money.
Buy now £48.99, Golfbase.co.uk
Glenmuir callander padded hybrid jacket
Best: For cold weather
If in the winter months you want some warmth as well as some protection from the elements, why not get yourself a jacket that does both? Glenmuir’s padded hybrid is cosy and comfortable on a cold day and makes for the ideal layer on one of those chilly early tee times. Its padded nature makes it naturally heavier than some of the lightweight options on this list, but it still manages to be quiet in the swing and is well-fitted with elasticated cuffs so that it doesn’t interfere with your game. It is almost like a light bomber jacket at first glance, and that makes it a little more stylish and the least functional-looking option. This jacket is different from the rest with an emphasis on comfort and retaining heat, which meant it was lowest ranked of all the jackets we tested for water resistance, but it was more than enough protection for the cold, drizzly day it was worn on the course.
Buy now £75.00, Snaintongolf.co.uk
Adidas rain.rdy jacket
Best: Lightweight jacket
This is among the lightest on the market and makes it a good option for if you want to feel like you’re not wearing an extra layer. What is so noticeable about the jacket is its unusual feel – described by Adidas as a “PFC-free water-repellent finish”, it has a textured quality to touch which makes for a modern aesthetic when you get up close. It came through our waterproof test well enough, and carries 50+ UV protection too.
Buy now £119.00, Function18.com
The verdict: Men’s golf jackets
The Kjus pro jacket is an outstanding choice which ticks every box from feel to comfort to water resistance, although the pricetag is a little punchy. This is why Glenmuir’s whisperdry jacket is our best buy, with a light and discreet feel during the swing, a smart aesthetic and still plenty of defence against the rain. Puma’s ultradry offering is another great product, and at a cheaper price point it is good value too.
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