Waterproofs: How they have changed over the last 20 years

From gear akin to that worn by a fisherman to hi-tech fashion garments – this is how waterproofs have developed

Asked which part of equipment has changed the most over the last 20 years the vast majority of golfers would point towards the ball, and the way in which Titleist’s Pro V1 has redefined the category, or the advent of giant-headed titanium drivers.

Yet just as dramatic has been the transformation of waterproof suits from the kind of thing you would expect to see a deep-sea trawlerman wearing to the ultra-light, ultra-breathable and highly stylish outerwear you see today.

Back in the day, and we are talking about as recently as 20 years ago and the early 1990s here, your average waterproof suit was heavy, gathered weight the wetter it got, quickly acquired a stale aroma, was difficult to swing in and was strictly for use in emergencies.

It is never much fun to play in heavy rain but back then it was much, much worse. You were also looking at a product that was of use for one thing only – golf in the rain.

How things have changed. In this country at least, one company have led the way – Swedish brand Galvin Green.

They have single-handedly it seems invented an entirely new price category and it is evident that British golfers have been happy to pay £500 or more for a suit in the knowledge that it was the best performing on the market and would last for years.

These days, we do not put on our Galvin Greens as a last resort – we are delighted to wear them both on and off the course.

In recent years the attitude from rival brands seems to have been that they could not compete with Galvin at the super-premium price point but it looks like that is all about to change this winter if notable new releases from Adidas, Nike and Abacus are anything to go by.

These days, we do not put on our Galvin Greens as a last resort – we are delighted to wear them both on and off the course. The key areas where these manufacturers will be hoping to entice us consumers:


Galvin Green and Gore-Tex have become synonymous in golf waterproofs.
The fabric dates back to the 1970s yet, astonishingly, it still seems to be the best available option. That much is apparent from Adidas’s decision to use the material in their flagship new suit.
By contrast, Abacus and Nike are both using their own materials. Abacus’s StretchLite is, they say, both light and quiet.
Nike are this year introducing Hyperadapt which they claim combines flexibility and waterproof performance.

Freedom of movement

Very much the key to Nike’s new suit – they claim it allows you to swing in a completely unimpeded fashion. Similarly Abacus’s Pitch suit is designed to be ‘quiet’ in comparison to a Gore-Tex suit and boasts impressive stretching properties.

Choice of sizes

Galvin Green have the edge here – you but their trousers in the way you would a pair of regular ones. So whether you are tall and thin, tall and broad, small and wiry or small and stocky, you will be able to find a pair of trousers that fit just the way you want them Nike say their Hyperadapt will allow you to wear your normal size without feeling restricted.


Galvin’s Paclite is the established market leader in this area while Adidas say their new suit will keep you dry without weighing you down.
A Galvin Paclite suit weighs less than a 500ml bottle of water – and will barely take up more space in your bag.

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