Gear Review: Sunice Byron Pacline convertible jacket

Review: Sunice Byron Paclite convertible jacket

MSRP: $319.95

What They Say: Hurricane is the outerwear of choice for Sunice tour players, who know that outerwear not only needs to serve a function, but also needs to look good. All Hurricane waterproof garments come with a waterproof lifetime guarantee. Hurricane products bear either the insigna of GORE-TEX®-the world’s leading and most-trusted outerwear fabric brand-or GORE® WINDSTOPPER®, offering total windproofness and maximum breathability.

What We Say:

As a country well-known for crazed golf enthusiasts who push the edges of the shoulder season well beyond even the frostiest of winter limits, it stands to reason that Canada wrote the book on how best to deal with inclement weather on the golf course.

So, too, does it stand to reason that a company with deep Canadian roots would be suitably equipped to outfit said golfers with comfortable, high-quality outerwear that performs as promised, without sacrificing standards for fashion, durability and playability.

Sunice _ based in Montreal as a subsidiary of Fletcher Leisure Group, although the trademark rights are owned by U.S. Apparel titan Ashworth, Inc. _ has come a long way since it began life in Calgary more than 30 years ago as an upstart outerwear company servicing the needs of skiers and mountain adventure-seekers.

Golf has since become the other major prong in the Sunice lineup, and while the brand is still primarily associated with skiing in Canada, it’s making major inroads on the fairways and greens as well _ PGA Tour players sporting the Sunice brand include Mark Wilson, Matthew Goggin and J.B. Holmes.

That doesn’t happen without a product line of some merit, of course.

Case in point is the Byron Gore-Tex Paclite convertible jacket, an incredibly lightweight waterproof shell that packs a wallop in terms of warmth when it’s cold, while still providing maximum versatility and breathability once the weather takes a turn for the better.

With a second layer of Gore-Tex inserts and a lifetime waterproof guarantee, the Byron is one of those jackets with which it’s hard to find fault. Indeed, as is often the case with golf apparel, it’s the little things that comprise its true virtues.

Despite being among the outerwear garments that comprise the Hurricane line, which offers the highest degree of wind and moisture protection, the Byron is far lighter and portable than some other equally robust golf jackets.

Convenient zip-off sleeves can be removed to quickly convert the jacket into a short-sleeve windshirt, complete with colour-coded zippers to prevent any confusion as to which sleeve is which.

Elastic cinches also permit the wearer to customize the jacket’s fit; get one that’s a tad too big, and you can add layers easily _ just adjust the cinches to take up the slack, allowing enough room to continue to swing freely.

Gear Head took the Byron out for a test run during a practice session at the Kevin Haime Golf Centre, an impressive full-service practice facility in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata. The young resident pro who was on hand spotted the Hurricane flagship right away.

How do you like it? he inquired, examining the extended collar. I know a bunch of guys who have these, and they swear by them.

Other flourishes, like the adjustable Velcro cuffs and a ball-cleaning cloth tucked away in the pocket, comprise the sort of attention to detail that every discriminating golfer demands in a piece of high-performance apparel.

Once you have command of the Byron’s many features, you’ll quickly forget you’re even wearing it, regardless of conditions, allowing you the freedom to concentrate on the matter at hand _ precisely the sort of performance that every nasty-weather player is looking for.

The Byron, which carries an MSRP of $319.95, is part of Sunice’s 2008 lineup; watch this space for a glance at what’s in store for 2009.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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