Aug 23rd, 2018
Is your gear ready whatever the weather?
As we reflect on one of the hottest summers in living memory, with average rainfall at the other end of the spectrum, the fact that it was snowing in May is a distant memory.
Or take June to September 2017 when average rainfall was way above a 30 year average or April and May that year when it was just as far below. The one thing that we can say for sure is that the weather over the past few years has been far from normal, and pretty much the only thing we can predict with certainty is that the weather will be unpredictable!
But golf goes on. And while the changeable weather might put off a few, the rest of us are out there on all but the hottest or wettest days doing our best to enjoy the game.
So what does the changing weather mean for golfers? And how can choosing the right gear help them get the best out of their game?
“The unpredictability of the weather isn’t just a challenge for golfers,” comments Ralf Niesing, head designer for golf bag and cart specialists BIG MAX. “As golfers are faced with changing conditions we need to make sure that our equipment will function at its best whatever the weather.”
“Over the past five years our focus has been on developing the best water-proof and water-resistant bags on the market but that can’t be at the expense of practicality when the sun comes out. Very few golfers have the luxury of having a wet weather set up so as designers we need to make sure that whatever conditions a golfer wakes up to, their equipment is ready to perform.”
But with so many variations in the weather the ‘Goldilocks’ combination of equipment that is ‘Just Right’ whatever the weather is a puzzle that is very hard to solve.
“You have to start with the golfer and their needs, but those needs will differ depending on their location and certainly more often these days, on the way the weather is behaving. So a manufacturer’s target has to be to provide the best solutions for any variations. Take for instance our two bag lines – Dri Lite and Aqua. Aqua is 100% waterproof with sealed seams and waterproof zippers. It has a hydrostatic rating of 10,000 meaning 10,000mm of rain can fall on it in 24 hours and it will stay dry inside. Dri Lite has all of those features without the seam sealing, so it carries a rating of 2000. In most situations our Dri Lite bags will keep out average rainfall, but if you are likely to be playing courses in areas prone to downpours, I’d suggest the Aqua every time. If you are in an area where you get occasional rain or if you want to be protected just in case, then Dri-Lite is the line for you.”
Niesing continues, “So we have two lines that lead the field in waterproof technology, but we don’t want to be the ‘waterproof bag’ company. To make sure of that, we have to think about practicality in hot weather that doesn’t compromise our wet weather performance. So we take care to pick materials which can resist extreme temperatures and remain durable under the stress of the heat. This goes for our colours too. Our bright European styling is one of our most recognisable design points so we have to work out ways that minimise fading in direct sunlight. Out of these different needs we developed our unique waterproof material that is incredibly lightweight, durable in rain and sunshine, washable if it gets muddy or dusty and keeps its colour whatever the weather.“
“They say that necessity is the mother of invention and I do truly believe that we as manufacturers will have to accomodate climate fluctuations more and more in our designs over the coming years. The trends are there to see, so if we want to continue in our aim of making a golfers life on the course easier and more enjoyable we have to be increasingly creative in our solutions to the problems that they face. So far I think we have done a great job at BIG MAX but rest assured, we’re already working on the next generation of products that are led by golfers‘ needs and among the leading manufacturers I don’t think we’ll be alone in thinking that climate will be an important part of those next steps.“
*All data taken from U.K. Met Office