Looking for a great golfing waterproof? As you'll see in this FootJoy HydroTour waterproof jacket review, I am very taken with this one. FootJoy may be better known for their shoes but on the evidence of this, perhaps they should change their name to UpperbodyJoy. It's got a ring to it, you have to admit.
As we all know, golf can be difficult even in perfect conditions, but when the wind and rain are giving you a right old hammering and you don’t have the best golfing waterproofs, you can forget about shooting a respectable score even when you’re on top of your game. It’s even trickier in the winter when you also have to deal with keeping out the cold. With FootJoy’s HydroTour waterproof jacket you don’t have to worry about any of that. It’s the ideal winter waterproof for golf.
The HydroTour is the premium offering in FootJoy’s HydroSeries range, which also includes the HydroLite and HydroKnit jackets. Accompanying waterproof trousers are also available, which can be worn on their own or, in the case of the HydroTour and HydroLite, as an over trouser. For this review, however we’re just concentrating on the headline act - the HydroTour jacket. This is a garment you will see on many tour pros throughout autumn and winter as FootJoy is one of the most popular brands on the PGA Tour.
Waterproofs are one of those golfing essentials that, if you’re anything like me, you don’t really enjoy spending money on as there isn’t anything exciting about buying a new set of waterproofs. They’re just something you need to have rather than look forward to buying. When you’re treating yourself to new golf gear you want to buy the cool things, like the best GPS golf watch or a fancy gadget such as the Garmin Approach Z82 laser range finder. Waterproofs don't get the pulse racing but they are necessary, especially if you are not fortunate enough to live in a warm country.
When golfing in the UK waterproofs are as essential to a successful round as having the best driver or the best golf balls. You can’t play golf if you’re soaking wet, but because of the varying temperatures you will probably need more than one waterproof jacket. Summer golf requires a lightweight jacket to prevent you getting too warm, but that jacket is not going to provide the warmth you need if you are the kind of hardy golfer who continues to play throughout autumn and winter.
The HydroTour won’t be suited to a hot July sunshower but from mild September mornings to the bitterly cold days in February this jacket comes into its own, as I discovered recently when putting it through its paces during a UK October in which the weather fluctuated from biblical storms to glorious sunshine. I then put it to the ultimate test in golf on a wet and windy Royal Birkdale in November. The HydroTour performed well in all conditions but really showed its mettle in the worst of the weather.
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FootJoy HydroTour Waterproof Jacket: Price and availability
The HydroTour is FootJoy's most expensive jacket and has a RRP of £235, although you can find it considerably cheaper if you shop around online. Currently in the UK if you shop around you can pick up this jacket for as little as £179, which makes it a real bargain as the RRP is £225.
In the US it retails at $295 while in Australia it is harder to get hold of but if you can find one it will set you back around $449.
• Buy from Hot Golf in the UK for £179
FootJoy HydroTour Waterproof Jacket: Technology
Complete waterproof protection is provided by specially engineered waterproof fabric with a Xtreme DWR finish, dual sealed seams, and YKK Aquaguard waterproof zippers. FootJoy warrants that this piece of outerwear will be 100% waterproof in normal use for three years.
A lightweight construction using only 3 panels reduces bulk and greatly improves mobility, while the specially engineered fabrics offer exceptional breathability to keep you dry and comfortable throughout the entire round.
One of the most unique features of this jacket is the all-new patent pending DrySeal Collar which protects the back of your neck from rain and channels water out through four grommets in the collar (see below).
FootJoy HydroTour Waterproof Jacket: Looks & Features
It’s a lovely looking jacket that comes in four different colourways. I tested the blue and black variant, with the orange trim, which is a rather fetching design that got me a few compliments from my playing partners. That’s highly unusual, so this must be a nice jacket. The red variation of it looks very dashing too, but for those who prefer a more understated look the black and charcoal or the navy and black will be more to your taste.
The first thing I noticed was that it is a very nice fit. It’s not too short so it sits nicely just below the waistline, and it comes with adjustable, elastic cuffs the ensure a snug fit around the wrists. It’s stretchy too, which further aids comfort.
The jacket feels like a premium item of clothing. You know as soon as you put it on that its high end. The four way stretch material used in construction not only allows great freedom of movement throughout the golf swing, but it just adds to the overall comfort and supreme feel of the jacket.
For a cold weather jacket it is impressively lightweight thanks to a minimal panel design which reduces bulk and weight. It will fit handily into the clothing pocket on any golf bag and doesn’t take up a great deal of room.
FootJoy say that the specially engineered fabric used makes the HydroTour their most waterproof rain jacket yet, while also providing industry leading breathability. The jacket is 100% waterproof and has a DWR finish which provides maximum protection in even the wettest conditions, beading water and keeping it from the shell. All zips are sealed and fully waterproof too.
The DrySeal double collar is one of the things that help to separate this jacket from the competition. It’s a clever little innovation whereby you essentially have two collars. An inner and an outer. There’s a cinch cord which you can pull tight to secure the inner layer and that causes water to run into the jacket rather than down the back of your neck.
The HydroTour jacket comes with a three year waterproof warranty.
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FootJoy HydroTour Waterproof Jacket: Performance
There are two things I loved about this jacket. The stretchiness which allowed me to swing the club without any restriction and the inner lining which kept me nice and warm (without causing me to sweat) even in a howling November seaside wind.
I wore the jacket for three rounds of golf in wildly varying conditions, and for a couple of sessions at my local driving range. On the first occasion at the range the weather was truly horrendous. The rain was pouring down and the wind was blowing it right into our faces. The driving range is under cover but because of the wind there was no protection from the elements. When I arrived the range was full but within 15 or 20 minutes I was one of only three or four hardy golfers remaining.
My top half was dry and warm, but unfortunately I was wearing jeans so my bottom half got soaked through! Still, it was a good first test for the jacket. On the golf course I tested it in vastly different weather conditions. That’s the beauty of North West England in the autumn and winter; you can go from sunny and warm one day to freezing cold and windy then next. In fact you can do it from one hole to the next!
The jacket performed better in the poor weather, as you’d expect. It’s not ideal on a hot, showery day when you’d be better served with a more lightweight alternative, such as the Ping SensorDry 2.5 waterproof jacket which I reviewed last year.
On the warm day I wore the FootJoy HydroTour for six holes before taking it off. It was dry so there was no need for me to wear it at all, but I needed to see how it felt when the weather was nice. It was ok actually, I wasn’t sweating but I was just a little too warm.
With certain waterproofs you will sweat and the inside of the jacket will become wet. Like condensation on a window. This was something I noticed when reviewing the Under Armour Storm Proof Rain Jacket and Trousers combo. If I wore just a polo underneath the jacket I found it could get a little moist on my forearms on warmer days, so long sleeves were needed. With the HydroTour there were no problems wearing just a polo under it. I’d liken it more to the feeling you have when wearing a jumper or sweatshirt rather than a waterproof garment.
It was on the cooler, windier day that the jacket really came into it’s own, unlike my golf game which seemingly stayed at home in the warm. There was the added bonus of a steady drizzle that day. Well, I saw it as a bonus as I was testing out waterproofs for a review, nobody else on the course saw it that way. The performance of the jacket was impressive, but then tour players wear it so you know it must be top notch.
The third time I wore the jacket on the golf course was the ultimate test for golfing waterproofs - a soaking wet, freezing cold, gusty morning on a seaside links course. In this case, Royal Birkdale. The weather was absolutely filthy when the round began at 10.30am. It settled down halfway through the front nine and I was able to take the jacket off by the 7th hole (it needed to go back on down the stretch as the weather turned again). It handled the worst of the weather with ease and by the time I was able to take it off I was still warm and dry. If a jacket can survive a seaside links in the winter then it can handle anything.
When it comes to hitting shots while wearing the jacket, it isn’t restrictive at all unless you’re wearing something big and bulky underneath it. It stretches as you move and I liked the fit too. The double collar is a really nice touch as you just pull the drawstring to tighten the inner collar and then any rain that runs down from your head into the neck area is gathered in the ‘gutter’ area and then drains out of the four small exit holes.
Not only does the jacket prevent the rain getting in, but the rain just beads off it completely so when I needed to get back in the car afterwards I did not have to remove the jacket, I just wiped over it with a towel and I was able to get in the car without worrying about getting the seats wet.
FootJoy HydroTour Waterproof Jacket: Verdict
When it comes to cold weather golf this jacket is tough to beat. Not only will it keep you dry (which you’d expect from something waterproof!) but crucially it will keep you warm without restricting your swing. You generally won’t need to wear a thick jumper or hoody underneath it for extra warmth other than when it is genuinely freezing. Most of the time just a standard mid layer will suffice as the HydroTour jacket will keep the elements out and allow you to just concentrate on your game. On top of that, it’s a smart looking jacket that can be worn away from the course too.