Well, so much for the weekend weather hitting the high 20s in April to usher in an early start to the golf season.
Even if it’s still a tad brisk outside, the courses are open (at least in this part of the world) and spring is upon us. In those parts of the world where heat and humidity make the summer almost too oppressive to play, the shoulder seasons offer the best times of the year to get on the golf course. Green fees are discounted, the fair-weather crowd is still staying away and the Sunday roars from the Masters are still ringing in your ears.
All it takes is a bit of preparation, a touch of commitment and the right gear.
Sunice has revamped its flagship Hurricane Ultimate V4 jacket for 2012, with a softer, quieter fabric, a more form-fitting design that eliminates unnecessary bulges, and stretch panels that better accommodate the full-body movements of a golf swing without restricting motion. It’s light enough to feel like little more than another layer, allowing the wearer to customize the fit to such an extent that you forget you’re wearing it.
The best new feature of the Hurricane Ultimate is the fabric, which while still Gore-Tex-impervious to the elements, is softer to the touch and more flexible than ever before — something more akin to cotton or polyester than the harder, plastic-y outer shell of previous versions. The lining is stretchier and less inclined to snag on rings or wristwatches, with super-snug wrist collars to keep the sleeves in place throughout the swing.
Indeed, the sleeve lining is so tight on the wrist that big, meaty pairs of hands are liable to struggle a little bit when first putting on the jacket, but once they’re in place, they’re not going anywhere, which is what you want on the course. Velcro straps on the outer layer allow the player to customize the cuffs, but they’re somewhat superfluous considering the snug fit of the lining.
The jacket fits bigger than it used to, which gives the player a lot more mobility. But try it on before choosing a size; cinching up the elastic rope that stretches across the lower back and emerges inside the pockets will create a fanny-pack bulge in the back if you’re wearing one that’s too big. Having tried a number of Sunice jackets over the years, my advice is to err on the big side — the sleeves get too short in the follow-through if it’s too small.
If the player needs to tighten up the fit, the cinch system can be trimmed to size once you find a tightness you like, and that’s recommended — between the red elastics, the finicky tethered (but removable) microfibre ball cleaner and a simple fabric divider, the pockets are already brimming with content before you add a ball or two, a handful of tees, a pencil and a divot repair tool.
When it’s zipped up all the way, for protection in a gale or a driving rain, the Hurricane Ultimate really lives up to its name. It fits like a turtleneck, providing ample neck warmth and protection, with a soft padded chin guard to prevent chafing and protect those stray beard hairs from getting snagged. The primary zipper is guarded with flaps that close up nicely to ensure there’s no leakage, and even the stretch back insert remains impenetrable to moisture.
The Hurricane Ultimate is an excellent shoulder-season garment the simple reason that when conditions turn on a dime, it remains comfortable and cool even after the sun comes out, offering terrific protection against chill wind gusts and sudden drops in temperature — a constant problem in the fickle months of April and May, to say nothing of the unpredictable fall.
Sunice also carries with it the added bonus of carrying a heavy dose of Canadian DNA.
Founded in 1976 in Alberta as a skiwear brand, Sunice added golf to its repertoire in the 1990s to capitalize on an expanding market for high-tech, weather-friendly garments on the fairways. These days, it’s owned and operated by Montreal-based Fletcher Leisure Group Inc., and includes an impressive stable of PGA and LPGA Tour players, including Mark Wilson and J.B. Holmes.