Layering up can and should be considered no matter the weather outside, which is why at OnlineGolf we stock a great range of top base layers for men, women and junior golfers. This buying guide will give advice and recommendations to help you perform better on the golf course while wearing a base layer, as well as explaining how they work and the best types for different weather conditions.
Base layer clothing excels by offering the wearer a ‘3 Layer Clothing System,’ which basically helps keep you warm and comfortable during severe drops in weather. It also reduces the risk of fatigue brought on by clumping through the elements in minus degree temperatures whilst the sun is also tackled as that too can cause similar issues.
The 3 Layers of Base Layer
Layer 1: The Base Layer
The base layer or Foundation Layer is worn closest to the skin and plays a key role in eradicating moisture from the skin when natural fibres such as cotton cannot. Higher absorbency levels in base layers means that you can play to your heart’s content without fear of overheating or exhaustion through sweat. The moisture wicking capabilities are ideal for any weather condition, from snow to sunshine.
Base layers should be tight or Compression Fitting as it’s known in certain circles, as they need to snugly fit all contours of the body to work effectively in below temperature weather and humid conditions. Base layers will provide key ‘Wicking’ capabilities to remove moisture from the surface of the skin caused by over exertion and also have good thermal properties that help maintain the body’s Core Body Temperature. Hotter conditions where air is humid, Base layer’s wick moisture away from skin quickly to the outside of the clothing where it can be evaporated and gotten rid of. This gives you the chance to fully appreciate the game without feeling ‘bogged down.’
Compression Base Layers are widely used in the sports sector to improve performance and recovery when the body is placed under extreme situations in hot and cold weather. Compression Fit garments are what assist athletes such as golfers or cyclists in muscle efficiency and the protection and recovery of core muscle groups, as well as providing a regulated body temperature which keeps you feeling good and performing correctly.
Base layer should always be comfortable with “Flat Lock Seams” to minimise bruising and are usually constructed from man-made materials as these work best.
Layer 2: The Mid-Layer
Providing thermal insulation and acting as the ‘transport layer’ in warm weather, the mid-layer is very important. The mid-layer is generally constructed in loose, weave fabric and opens the doors for pockets of warm air to be created by the body’s own temperature. When faced with warmer conditions, the fabrics need to be very fine and lightweight in construction so it is able to carry moisture away from the body effortlessly. Layers ideal for hot weather can also be worn close to the skin as they also wick moisture from skin, which ultimately results in similar responses and more comfortable performance.
It is imperative that any mid-layer base layer that you purchase has the ability to transport or ‘wick perspiration from skin as this is a key function associated with base layers. The attire itself is generally lightweight due to the chosen fabrics used and is perfectly suited for mid climate conditions (not too hot, not too cold). Used as a lightweight protective layer following exerting exercise is also a good function for it.
All mid-layers are susceptible to external weather conditions because wind can easily get inside and replace that warmth which was building up, causing a chill and discomfort. A light, cool wind blowing through can reduce temperatures by up to 10° and on days when the temperature is 0°, it can create an effect akin to -10° temperatures on the body. However, it is easy to avoid the Wind Chill Factor, simply by wearing quality base layers that are designed to shield and protect in harsh weathers.
Layer 3: The Top Layer
Now we come to the top layer, which is also the weather-protective layer which is placed over the other layers already mentioned. Top layers fall into two categories, which are very distinct and should be considered: the Shell Layer for changeable weather conditions that turn without warning but remain dry and are not wet of cold, and the Outer Layer which works more closely with severe weather conditions.
The top layer is ok for the conditions you are about to face as long as it’s breathable, moisture-wicking constructed and well ventilated to allow the entire 3-layer system to work as it should and give optimal performance in any weather.
Which Base Layer is best for you?
Look out for these signs when searching for base layer…
Zip collars, V-necks, crew necks, mock collars, short or long sleeve. Just the basics of what base layers are available to you right away. But what do they mean? Higher collars will seek to protect the neck area in cold weather, whilst short sleeves should be reserved for warm weather. Loose-fitting attires and zip-collars provide better ventilation in all conditions. It’s entirely up to you what you feel works with what, and trial and error is the best way to go. If you’re still unsure, check out some of the reviews posted on our Onlinegolf website, as advice from fellow golfers can be invaluable.
Playing in Warm or Cold Weather?
Thermal protection is perfect for tackling the chill of cold weather head-on and it enhances moisture-wicking capabilities because even in cold weather we still perspire when under extreme or exertive exercise. Warm weather is nice for a while and will give you a nice feeling inside, but once the game heats up so will you. Moisture-wicking base layers are perfect for all situations and especially useful under warm conditions. They also offer cooling effects to keep you dry and slightly chilled, though not enough to make you actually cold.
What is the best fabric available?
Wool and synthetic fabrics are a good solution when deciding what to wear on the golf course, as is polyester thanks to its moisture-wicking properties and the fact it’s often available in loose-fitting attire. Polypropylene requires closer, bunched-in fitting to actually benefit you but combining this with polyester can be a real smart move. Man-made materials also work well and most base layers are made from this. Do not bother with cotton if you’re playing in any weather condition because it does not offer ventilation and is restrictive in places that hinder swing momentum and twisting.
There are many golf base layers which offer incredible comfort, and a few of our customers favourites include the Stromberg Sahara Base Layer, Galvin Green East Base Layer, PING Ladies Heidi Base Layer, Mizuno Golf Breath Thermo Mock Base Layer and Calvin Klein Ladies Half Zip Base Layer as they offer amazing comfort at all times.
Getting the fit ‘just right’
Amazingly base layers are designed to give you total freedom of movement when worn, despite their tight-fitting appearance. Buying more expensive is a good idea for base layers, largely because the pricier models are the better ones and will work a lot more effectively than a cheaper option from an unknown brand. Raglan sleeves, off the shoulder sleeves and wide openings aid good fitting, whilst getting collars that are not overly tight-fitting and cuffs are also good.
Is golf your only sport?
Whether you’re a one sport kind of person or a multi-tasking pro away from the golfing greens, base layers are no less important. Contact sports such as rugby or football will require man-made fabrics as they offer better security and support the muscles when really worked hard. On the other hand, leisurely sports like cycling, hiking and golf means a wool fabric option should be fine, although man-made alternatives will still heighten the experience somewhat.
Reducing bruising and abrasions through wear
Golf is time-consuming. Of course that doesn’t matter one iota to any of us because we’re passionate about the sport and enjoy it to the max. Unfortunately some of the attire you wear might not feel the same way and over long periods can start to rub and cause discomfort. Base layers are made with an intricate design which minimises the risk of rubbing by having sewn ‘flat’ stitched seams that work to reduce the risk of seam abrasions.
Natural or Synthetic: What is best for you?
We can only advise here as this is largely up to you depending on how you play and the benefits you want to achieve. There are no wrong answers here because no golfer is exactly the same; however, certain attire will give better performances than others, so reading this might be of some help to you down the line.
Merino Wool is favoured by a large community of athletes as a natural base layer that remains odour free even after days of wear. Merino wool is made from actual Merino sheep’s wool and is a natural and renewable source of good fabric. Merino fibres are finely woven in such a way as to avoid that awful itchy feeling that makes you want to scratch crazily at the irritation. Merino wool is strange in that it technically doesn’t wick moisture like synthetic fabric does, but instead has the uncanny ability to absorb up to 3 times its own weight in liquid, thus keeping you totally dry and the moisture far from causing any interaction with the skin. Merino is perfect for cold weather conditions and created by nature for outdoor pursuits.
On the other side of this argument we have synthetic polyamides, which have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years to the point where today they are classed as acceptable alternatives to wool. Shirts and suits are available in these highly-beneficial, man-made fabrics, though polyamides do not contain any natural anti-odour properties, which mean you will be open to attack from perspiration. Some manufacturers treat the fabrics with a microbial chemical treatment to eradicate the smells which form due to this.
Deciding on base layer compression types
An underlying confusion still exists surrounding base layers and their compression types. Many top name brands are now trying their hand at creating improved, more advanced attire than before, but this seems only to have caused more confusion. Below is a simplified explanation about compression types in base layers which should hopefully help those golfers whose heads start to spin whenever the subject is raised.
High Intensity Sports & Recovery
High intensity compression is designed to offer golfers support in core muscle groups and hone in on certain susceptible areas. Used often in travel and recovery compression where post exercise support is highly recommended to give muscles time after heavy workouts to repair and soothe, they also reducing fatigue in athletes who have walked long-haul distances. It can also speed up post-flight recovery as well as reducing the risk of DVT’s in-flight.
Sports Compression High Support
Compression attire with an even body-wide high compression ratio, High Support Sport Compression is designed to help athletes undertaking intense contact sports or endurance work. The production of toxins such as lactic acid is high during intense workouts and therefore speeding up the elimination of these toxins from the body produces higher levels of activity, while high muscle support is present all-round and significantly reduces muscle vibration to improve overall athletic performance.
Sports Performance Compression
The largest sector for athletic men and women requiring compression, all round quality sports compression fabrication provides incredible all-over support for the muscles and reduces muscle vibration, increases blood flow in the body and aids the reductions of toxins caused by intense levels of sport activity. About 90% of the compression requirements fall into this category and are very much a popular choice.
The benefits of a compression base layer
Regulated body temperature, compressed core muscles and aided recovery are the three main reasons a base layer is such fantastic attire for the golf course. Base layers, though used by pros in almost every sport, can still benefit anyone who has an interest in wearing them, and they will be amazing if you’re looking at taking a long hike or adventure holiday in the near future.
Tips & Care Advice
Picking The Right Colours
First and foremost when looking to buy a new base layer is not to be drawn in by eye-catching colours or designs. Although it sounds petty, we promise you it is not. This isn’t a way of forcing you to forego that lovely red base layer in exchange for a lowly black number; colours should always be chosen wisely.
Black is a practical colour and very flattering if you’re conscious about how you look, while it will slot easily into your golfing wardrobe as an immediate ‘goes with anything’ attire. The problem with black, of course, is that it can become very warm in hot temperatures. Dark shades attract and draw in sunlight, making them somewhat a frustrating colour, though they still work very well at moisture wicking. White on the other hand is the polar opposite; its clean, crisp and smart. And it can become riddled with very visible dirt very quickly!
Black and White are still the best colour options to choose from and both have their flaws. No colour offers 100% performance and you’ll likely have to settle one way or the other, but at least you can look good doing it.
Base layers should never be washed above 40° and under no circumstances should they be placed in a tumble drier. Using soap powder and no fabric softener is the right way to go as softeners contain silicone that can prevent the base layer from working to the standard you expect.
View the full range of golf base layers now.