Hot, Hot Heat: Best Golf Course Swelter-Wear

Hot enough for you?
You may think we’re through the worst of it, but the weather experts are saying that summer’s far from over, that the heat and humidity of one of the hottest Augusts in recent memory is going to stick around for a while — it’s not time for the long pants and sweaters just yet. Which is why we thought you, gentle reader, might appreciate some suggestions for outfits to stay cool on the course.
During a visit this week to sweltering New York City, your long-suffering host put some of this year’s warm-weather garb to the ultimate field test: the shimmering streets of midtown Manhattan and open hydrants of Brooklyn in August, when the mercury was routinely topping out past 32 degrees Celsius. Forthwith, the findings:
Antigua Ellis shorts
$73 US,
Should you encounter Antigua’s excellent Ellis shorts at a local golf or tennis shop or perhaps during a visit to the

Antigua's Ellis shorts, a top choice for days when the mercury exceeds 30 C

Antigua’s Ellis shorts, a top choice for days when the mercury exceeds 30 C

U.S., do yourself a favour and snap up a couple of pairs. Larger, spongier humans like myself will appreciate the reasonable, roomy fit, the easy-access, no-nonsense design of the pockets for snatching up tees, ball markers, scorecard and the like, and the simple styling and modern cut. There’s no billowing, no excess material — no nonsense.
However, the best feature is by far the cool, lightweight, moisture-wicking stretch fabric with so-called Desert Dry technology, long a staple of Antigua’s polo shirts but now standard equipment on the bottom half as well. The 95/5 blend of polyester and spandex gives the Ellis shorts just enough give without creating that uncomfortable sticky effect that often accompanies high-tech fabric.
The Ellis shorts are available in white, stone and dark grey; the Paradise version comes in a stylish light blue or black and grey plaid print. The fit is roomy so no need to err on the larger side.


Hollas Devon shorts
$70 Cdn, on sale at for $35
Not quite as cool and breezy as the Antigua shorts, the Devon shorts from Canadian apparel company Hollas comprise a great staple for anyone’s hot-weather golf wardrobe. Also made of a moisture-wicking blend of polyester and spandex, the Devons also feature sensible pocket designs (indeed, a little too simple in the front pockets, which can be quick to turn themselves out if you’re not careful) and sharp looks – a slim cut and fit, understated but well-defined colours and a suitable length that doesn’t make you look like you’re wearing short pants.
Larger lads, beware the fit: a 38 in the Antigua shorts is probably closer to a 40 in the Devon.

Antigua Element polo
$70 US,
Here’s what Antigua says about the Element polo: it “simply demonstrates that the fabric of a garment can be the garment … reaffirming the ‘less is more’ adage.” Not sure what that means exactly, but it seems to have something to do with the unique manufacturing process: twisting together contrasting strands of coloured fibres at the “yarn level” to create a unique heather effect in the finished garment.
To be sure, the heathered versions of the Element polo are cool looking, but more to the point, they’re cool — period.

Antigua's Element polo

Antigua’s Element polo

Again, Antigua seems to really be on point when it comes to creating golf outfits to help deal with sweltering temperatures. Like many of Antigua’s similar styles, such as the solid-colour Pure and sporty-styled Edge, the Element features Desert Dry moisture-wicking technology, one of the best such features out there.
Why? Apparently because they only use fabrics with a weight of 150 grams per square metre or more, which offer more “body,” unlike those wispy, ultralight fabrics that tend to cling and aren’t so great for the 99 per cent of us without Dustin Johnson’s physique. As a result, you get better moisture wicking, quicker drying, a lower body temperature, more breathability and less cling.
Again, sizing with most Antigua shirts is generous, so act accordingly.

Carnoustie cotton jersey polo
$100 US,
Carnoustie bills this jersey stripe polo as one of the most popular jersey stripes of the season. Made of two-ply double-mercerized cotton, the Carnoustie polo is a classic shirt for a player who prefers something more old-school — knit collar, open sleeves and buttons made of genuine pearl, with a traditional fit — roomy enough to be comfortable, but not overflowing with excess material.
Carnoustie is not a brand to be associated with high-tech moisture-wicking, air-flow encouraging fabrics. Rather, a traditional, comfortable approach with two-ply cotton is how they roll, and while it was far from the coolest shirts of the several we tried, it was surprisingly cool and dry despite sweltering heat.
It would not be your first choice, given the myriad other lightweight options out there, but it might surprise you — especially if you’re the sort of player who exchews the light drape and fit of more modern apparel.

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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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