Callaway Apparel has been on an upward trend for a number of years. The designers behind the line have embraced technical fabrics and new techniques that advance comfort and performance.
Key to the brand is the value proposition. Callaway Apparel isn't outrageously priced, which makes it a perfect staple-type option for many golfers. Equally important is the fit, which tends to be a little looser with Callaway Apparel than some others in the space. However, in recent years, Callaway has found ways to make for a more comfortable fit without using as much fabric and getting closer to modern fits.
The new Weather Series is a continuation of that positive trend, bringing together pullovers, jackets, vests and bottoms that are designed for golfers looking to extend this season into the colder months and maybe sneak in a round when the forecast isn't the friendliest.
Callaway Apparel sent me four pieces to review.
StormGuard waterproof jacket
My favorite piece, ironically enough, is the most expensive piece Callaway sent: the StormGuard waterproof jacket ($190). Like most waterproof apparel, the price tag is higher for the technical construction and higher-quality materials provided to make that kind of claim for a golfer.
The StormGuard is my favorite of the four pieces, in large part because of the intelligent design behind it.
The four zippers are fully waterproof, and there's a front chest pocket which can hold anything a golfer needs to grab quickly.
The outside cuffs are easily adjustable with a Velcro strap so the player can have as loose or tight a feel around the glove as they'd like. On the inside end of the sleeves is a lining like a quarter-zip sleeve, forming around the wrist to add an extra layer of protection from wind and water.
The jacket tapers nicely to fit snugly with room to move through the golf swing. The back tail of the jacket extends lower down the body than the front for comfort in the swing and to also prevent water from seeping in while a player is hunched over.
The mock-neck collar has comfortable material on the back of the neck, important for when the jacket needs to be zipped all the way.
The branding may not be as subtle as you'd like, but it's not a bother.
This jacket is exactly what I want from a waterproof with a price tag for someone who doesn't play a ton of golf in nasty conditions. If you're a trooper, maybe a $350 jacket is OK, but this one at $190 is more than capable.
High-gauge fleece full-zip vest
I'm typically a quarter-zip guy. I think most golfers are. So I only have a few vests in my closet -- a quarter-zip technical piece and a fancy sweater from an Orlando resort. This full-zip vest from Callaway is somewhere in between, and it's a great fit.
This vest is heavy enough and warm enough to merit being worn in the first place, not just some superfluous fabric that isn't really doing anything. The lines are super clean, with just a contrasting zipper and a small logo. There are a couple of front pockets that don't stand out (they shouldn't on a vest). The waistband allows for a custom fit with a hidden adjustment inside the vest. The arm holes aren't cut so that the fabric rides up and feels like you're wearing football pads underneath. The mock-neck collar is comfortable.
If you're into vests or are looking for a simple piece when a shirt and/or quarter-zip isn't quite enough, this is perfect.
Midweight Ottoman quarter-zip pullover
Every golfer needs a quarter-zip with some kind of weight to it. It's a trade-off: wearing something a little heavier for some more warmth.
This piece has more of a straight taper, which means the fit may be a problem if you're wearing a heavier or looser shirt underneath. However, if your shirt has a modern cut, this piece complements well and doesn't look like you're wearing a warm trash bag.
The sleeves are a little longer, as it the whole piece, so it covers comfortably without worry of riding up or exposing too much skin to the elements.
The fleece fabrication delivers warmth without being too heavy, and the quality zipper helps prevent the breeze from seeping in.
The ribbed chest and upper-sleeve area gives this piece some pop, and it looks more stylish than a standard quarter-zip.
It's an easy-to-wear piece that goes well with a pair of jeans and a T-shirt off the course, too.
SwingTech Outlast midlayer quarter-zip
Of course, what lineup would be complete without a more lightweight QZ? They're essential for golfers in cooler conditions. Throw one on for the first five or six holes, then throw it in the bag or the cart when the temperatures rise. When the temperatures are even cooler, they can be the midlayer for a vest or a heavier piece for the same purpose.
The Outlast quarter-zip is just right for that purpose. There are five color options for versatility, with a standard mock neck. It has an understated look, so it can work seamlessly with other clothes.
The sleeves aren't form-fitting and give some room to move, particularly in the forearms. The cuffs are tapered with a wrap of elastic fabric for comfort and to lock in body heat. There's enough taper here to make it a proper laying piece, but it's not so tapered that it'll bring out all your bodily imperfections. (If you want that, get a thermal undershirt.)
The Outlast features SwingTech construction, giving the golfer extra room and flexibility where their body moves in the swing, particularly in the shoulders.
The Callaway Apparel Weather Series offers great value throughout, with thoughtful features in each piece geared toward performance, versatility and a recognition that golfers layer in different ways for different climates. It's a balancing act for sure, and the Weather Series handles it well.