How does the Ping Norse S4 Vest perform? Steve Carroll took to the golf course wearing the product to find out
A golf gilet that’s reversible? Ping’s new Norse S4 Vest aims to be “engineered for ultimate warmth without weight in cold weather”.
Ping Norse S4 Vest review: NCG Summary
A superb performer in all sorts of elements, Ping’s reversible Norse S4 Vest is light on its feet in every respect – except for its meaty price tag.
- Very lightweight and water resistant in a shower.
- Comfortable, warm, well-fitted and gives no restrictions to the swing.
- Wind resistant qualities also shine through.
- Reversible or not, £120 is a lot of money for a vest.
Ping Norse S4 Vest
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Ping Norse S4 Vest review: First Impressions
Jacket or gilet? It’s a bigger choice than you think. Do you want more freedom of movement or all over protection? Do you enjoy a long sleeve or do you prefer nothing getting in the way of your arms?
If it’s a choice between a vest or a jacket, and conditions allow, I’ll go for the gilet every time. It doesn’t matter whether I’m wearing a coat or a tank top, I’m always pulling up the fabric anytime gets anything near my wrists.
And yet they do divide opinion, don’t they? Rory McIlroy was spotted in a vest at The Open a few years back and it made golf media headlines!
In the Ping Norse S4 Vest, though, we might have a product that’s worthy of all the words written about the genre.
Ping say it features high performance PrimaLoft insulation that’s designed to keep you warm in cold conditions. But when you first pick it up, you might wonder how that’s possible. When the company say it’s “without weight”, they really aren’t kidding.
The Norse S4 Vest is super light – so airy, in fact, that you’ll barely notice it’s on at all. And if you do have to remove it, you’ll have no problem storing it as the fabric winds up so tightly it can really go into any pocket.
In testing, I used a Sunday bag and it added virtually nothing at all to the overall weight.
While the outer fabric is meant to be both wind and water-resistant, Ping say they’ve achieved this without having to use perflourinated compounds so you can also be confident what you’re wearing is better for the environment.
Ping Norse S4 Vest review: NCG Review
I tested the Ping Norse S4 Vest in very different conditions at York Golf Club and Rockliffe Park. It was significantly colder in County Durham and we were subjected to some brief, but fairly heavy, rain showers so it has seen all the elements you’d expect in an early spring.
One early surprise was the choice of colours. It is reversible, and you can sport an all black look, or turn it over and go for French Blue instead. I’m not sure if it’s that important, but if you want to change it up from round to round there is the option to do so.
Given how light this vest is, it’s surprising how well it performs when the weather turns. Easy to wear in the warm – it feels quite breathable and you’ll have good temperature control without overheating – it excels in the cold. Combined with the Ping Elevation midlayer, it formed a very effective seal and despite the mercury dropping significantly as my round at Rockliffe went on, I never felt cold.
The water-resistant outer fabric also works a treat. While everyone else was reaching for the umbrellas (I never taken one to the course), the water was bouncing off the surface. Clearly anything sustained would put its absorption qualities to the test but in a 10-minute spell with a decent amount of rain, the Ping Norse S4 Vest performed very well.
With two front outer pockets, which zip tight, and a chest pocket inside, there is plenty of room to put your card, tees, phone, and be happy they are not going to get mislaid.
It’s a good, smart, fit – snug without being tight and it doesn’t rub across the back of the neck. I wore a medium and it was true to size. While the hem moved a fraction, this garment stayed in position through the swing and did not ride up my back.
Style-wise the Ping Eye logo on the front shoulder and the logo to the back of the neck are not glaring or garish. And any thought you might have about its durability – whether its super-lightweight frame might render it more susceptible to nicks and tears if handled roughly – should be dispelled. I’ve had this garment on and off, packed into and out of a bag, and it feels tough as teak.
While there is an awful lot going on under the bonnet in the Ping Norse S4 Vest, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is on the steep side. At £120, it is quite a lot to pay. You might want to think of it as an investment, a piece of clothing that’s versatile and that you can turn to in the depths of winter as well as when temperatures are falling. But there’s no doubt that it will also put a few of you off.
Ping Norse S4 Vest review: The 19th hole
Don’t feel the need to strip down when the last putt is holed. The Ping Norse S4 Vest looks perfectly at home in the clubhouse environment and no one will bat an eyelid. I’ve also happily worn this off the course in a social setting too.
I’ve yet to put this through the wash and there no instructions – and no label – given it is essentially two garments in one.
I’m hoping a spin won’t affect the waterproof qualities, but I do think you will need to put it through a cycle given the nature of the fabric. Hopefully, it won’t do any damage and I’ll report back.
Otherwise, though, this is an excellent product. It’s incredibly light but still manages to outperform some of its more weighty rivals – not only in how it feels around your body when swinging but also how it repels the elements. You’ll need to dig deep to put this in your wardrobe but I reckon it will become an essential part of your on-course armoury.
Fit: True to Size/Small/Larger
Value for Money: 7/10
Sizes: Small through XXXL
Colour options: Black/French Blue
Ping Norse S4 Vest: The Details
More info: Ping website
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