Although the number of cold days out on the course here in North Carolina are limited, we do have a few months when we have to deal with frost-delays and weather that is colder than I’d prefer to golf in. If the course is open then it’s still warm enough to play, but there are certainly times when the layers of clothing get to be a bit of a nuisance out on the course.
Since I’ve been out and walking three or four times a week through the winter this year, I decided to experiment around a bit and see if I could find some other alternatives to my standard layering of Patagonia under layers and the bulkiness of layering normal golf gear. I ended up spending some time in the Mobile Warming vest to see if it was a valid option for cold-weather play.
Mobile Warming has been making cold-weather golf gear for a few years now. The concept is fairly straightforward, but also unique. The line of golf jackets and vests offer minimalist golf gear styling and battery-powered adjustable heating panels.
For this review, I used the Softshell Heated Vest and I was pleased with both the quality and the warmth.
The battery that comes with the vest was able to make it through a single round without a problem (the advertised life of the battery is 10 hours). The warmth level is adjustable and adjustable to levels of 25, 50, 75, and 100. The four options were sufficient and I typically found myself changing the levels after the first few holes. Setting the jacket to 100 will give off a significant amount of heat in the areas directly under the panels and I typically turned the jacket down to the 50 setting while playing in weather that was typically in the upper 30’s and lower 40’s.
I did play with the jacket in weather ranging from the lower 30’s to the mid 60’s. When the weather started getting above the 50’s I often found myself switching the vest completely off since the heat seemed to stay fairly stable after going through the initial warming cycle (which would only take a few minutes).
The styling of the vest is minimalist and the construction feels durable enough to make it easily through quite a few seasons. I really enjoyed the light branding and commend the company for focusing on performance and benefits instead of sticking large logos all over their outerwear. This is apparel that could easily be used off of the golf course and in nearly any situation.
The only issue that I had with the vest was that it did tend to feel fairly stiff. Not swing-restricting stiff, but more of a medium-starched stiff. After five or six rounds the stiffness of the jacket did tend to let up a bit and the feel was a bit softer.
The construction and cut of the vest worked well for golf and never did get in the way of my swing. The battery feels equivalent to the weight of an iPod and has a nice pocket that the battery can be stored in on the front left pocket. The battery is both easily accessible (even with winter gloves on) and out of the way while playing. The softer material on the upper sides of the vest (directly under the upper arms) is very comfortable and a great idea that I haven’t seen in any other outerwear.
While I’m anxiously awaiting that warmer weather, it’s good to know that I have a good cold-weather solution for those days when I can’t deny the call to get out and play golf – despite the weather.