Glove tested: FootJoy WinterSof (men’s) Retail price: $22 Material(s): Microfiber, fleece Colors: Black Hand: Left and right (sold in pairs) Sizes: S, M, ML, L, XL, XXL
Available in cadet* fit: No Weather: Cold
About this glove: Some people think that if it’s so cold you need gloves to play golf, then it’s too cold to play golf. FootJoy’s WinterSof gloves are made for hardier souls.
Like FootJoy’s RainGrip gloves, each WinterSof package includes both a left- and right-handed mitt. (Or in this case, mitten.) The gloves are made with fleece insulation to retain warmth, plus a weatherproof backhand and an extended knit cuff to cover the wrist and keep chilled air from invading the interior.
As anyone who’s played in temps below 50° can attest, cold weather can make for slick, unstable gripping. Like the highly rated RainGrip, the palms of FootJoy’s WinterSof gloves feature a microfiber material called “autosuede.” As bonus, the gloves are equipped with a tee slot so you don’t have to remove a mitt to fish around in your pocket for a peg.
While these gloves are made for cold weather, keep in mind that courses which stay open during winter typically won’t let golfers play while there’s frost on the greens. (Though some use temporary greens.) Thus, it’s fair to expect warmth and performance from the gloves at 40° or more – anything colder and you may want to mix in some hand warmers.
Appearance: FootJoy’s WinterSof gloves are certainly bulkier than your average golf gloves, but they’re actually pretty sleek given their purpose. The appearance instills confidence that your hands will be warm but not overly restricted.
Comfort: Ah, fleece. So soft, so warm. WinterSof gloves handle their primary function with aplomb, keeping the hands nice and toasty. The extended cuff wraps snugly around the wrist without cutting off circulation.
The one inherent issue with wearing winter gloves, of course, is the lack of breathability. (After all, perforations would let cold air in.) WinterSof gloves capably absorb sweat, but we recommend taking them off—briefly—to air them out and dry your hands every so often.
One more thing: Golfers who use an interlocking grip may have a little difficulty given the gloves’ extra thickness. Consider trying an overlapping (Vardon) grip or even a 10-finger (baseball) grip if your normal hold isn’t working.
Feel: About as good as can reasonably be expected. Fact is, just having warm hands ensures better feel than you’ll get with frozen, numb fingers. You can actually feel the club’s handle through these gloves, too, which automatically makes them better than a thick pair of skiing mitts.
Tackiness: Aside from warmth, this is the most important category for any pair of winter gloves. FootJoy’s WinterSof model passes the test easily thanks to the grippy palm surface. It definitely helps to have plenty of tack on your clubs’ grips, though, so we advise washing them with warm water and mild soap, then drying them thoroughly, before any winter round.
Durability: No issues in our limited trials. Consider that on those occasions when you do play in the cold, the weather usually warms up enough to switch to a regular glove at some point during the round. In other words, you’re not likely to use WinterSof gloves enough to wear them out any time soon.
Bottom line: No serious golfer likes to play in frigid weather. Then again, no serious golfer likes to go months without playing, either. At some point, you’re likely to tee it up when the mercury (and your spouse) says, “What on earth are you thinking?” When that day comes, you’ll be glad you own a pair of FootJoy WinterSof gloves.
If it’s too cold for these gloves, then it is, in fact, too cold for golf.