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2018 GOLF UMBRELLA BUYER’S GUIDE

Did you know that the umbrella was invented over 4,000 years ago?

For many golfers, the choice of an umbrella boils down to a favorite club brand or whatever the pro shop has in stock. Little regard is given to the performance of the umbrella. I’d wager that most golfers aren’t aware that there are products out there that can outperform major golf OEM offerings. The thing is, most of the umbrellas on the market today haven’t evolved in decades, perhaps even centuries. How can a product improve if it never changes? Golfers are accustomed to companies to push the envelope, and we’ve set out to figure out if anyone has done that within the umbrella category.

Unless you avoid the course entirely when the weather looks dicey the umbrella is an essential piece of equipment. The current market includes umbrellas of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Personalized logo and color options are available as well.

If you’re in need of a sturdy golf umbrella – and that’s most of us – this guide is for you.

Credit: Newport News Golf Club at Deer Run

FEATURES THAT MATTER

HANDLE: If you are playing a long round in the wind and rain, you want a comfortable grip. Handles that are unbearably hard and provide no gripping structures are to be avoided. We found that the handles that performed better than others had recessed areas for fingers to wrap and grip and are made out of materials that perform better as conditions get wetter. Ping and Gustbusterare examples of umbrellas that do just that.

COVERAGE: When playing in the rain it’s imperative that you stay dry. Umbrellas that are smaller do not provide sufficient coverage. We found that the larger the umbrella is, the better it performed on the golf course. Umbrellas such as Gustbuster and Weatherman are great examples of umbrellas that provide maximum coverage.

OPENING SPEED: Getting your umbrella out and fully extended is important when getting caught in a downpour. This means that the faster you can open and get the full coverage, the less you likely you are to get wet and stay wet. The Weatherman and BagBoy are great examples of umbrellas that can be opened quickly. These automatic opening systems limit fumbling and therefore provide better-opening speed to stay dry for longer.

DURABILITY: No matter how good the umbrella is, you need it to last for years to come. The best umbrellas last for years in all weather conditions. When testing, we experienced umbrellas that did not fully extend or hyperextended, which will dramatically limit longevity. This is a factor to consider, especially when considering a more expensive option.

FEATURES: Does the umbrella offer any noteworthy features beyond rain protection?  Weatherman has gone above and beyond in the features section by adding a mesh pocket, towel grip, and Bluetooth connectivity to help locate a misplaced umbrella. For some, this may not entice you, but they exist for those looking for a little something extra.

2018 UMBRELLA FEATURES CHART

NAMECANOPIESOPENINGCOLORWAYSDIAMETER
BagBoy 68"2Automatic168
BagBoy Wind Vent 62"2Automatic162
Big Max Aqua UV Protection2Automatic468
Cobra Double Canopy2Automatic164
Gustbuster 62"2Manual662
Gustbuster 68"2ManualCustomizable68
LifeTek Golf Umbrella2Automatic164
Mizuno Double Canopy2Manual164
Ping 62"1Manual162
Ping 68"2Manual168
ShedRain Vortex2Manual364
Sun Mountain Umbrella2Manual168
Titleist Tour Canopy2Manual164
Totes Vented Canopy2Automatic564
Under Armour2Manual168
Vice2Manual164
Weatherman 62"2Automatic662
Weatherman Golf Umbrella 68"2Automatic668

HOW WE SCORE

We’re always fine-tuning the process to make sure we’re collecting the best data possible. Continuing that trend we’ve updated and refined this year’s analysis to bring you the best buying advice possible.

We put in hours of testing utilizing data-driven protocols to test new metrics.

Over the course of the test, we used the same protocol and implemented it to every umbrella. In other categories, we found some umbrellas would leak and therefore get the individual wet. To limit bias, we paid careful attention to the phrasing of the questions as well as the timing of when particular questions were asked.

Wind/Water Resistance (30 points) – We put the umbrellas to the test both in our lab and on the course. On the course, the umbrellas were subjected to storms with wind gusts of up to 45 mph and torrential rain. We then put the umbrellas to the test under simulated wind and rain conditions. Poor performers had shafts that bent and canopies that nearly collapsed and let rain in. Top performers didn’t falter with torrential rain and wind speeds approaching 50 mph.

Coverage (20 points) – It’s important to note that an umbrellas diameter isn’t the sole factor in the coverage score. Some umbrellas are designed to provide greater clearance for the head, torso, and clubs. Umbrellas that feature domes that force the water to cascade out as opposed to down performed best. Poor performers were either too small, or their design didn’t maximize the potential coverage of the umbrella.

Opening Speed (15 points) – How fast does the umbrella open? The opening speed score is a combination of both the velcro straps and opening mechanism. Some umbrellas have automatic opening mechanisms while others are fully manually. Umbrellas without multiple velcro straps were inconvenient to operate.

Handle (5 points) – How easy is the handle to hold in both wet and dry conditions? Do you feel like a gust of wind could blow the umbrella out of your hand? Umbrellas that performed well contoured to the hand and maximized grip.

Durability (30 points) – Is the umbrella made of high-quality materials? Is the umbrella constructed in a way that limits breakable pieces? Did the umbrella break during any portion of the test? An umbrella isn’t a bank-breaking purchase, but as with anything else, it should last for as long as possible. The best performers durability-wise were incredibly sturdy, and some even boast lifetime warranties. Poor performers were battered around by the wind, while some even broke.

Final grades were awarded based on total scores. Best Overall is our highest overall scoring the best golf umbrella, and awards are awarded to the top three umbrellas. In addition, more specific Best in Class recognition’s are awarded to the umbrella in certain categories (like best value) that push the industry envelope.

THE BEST GOLF UMBRELLAS OF 2018

Gustbuster 68

Gustbuster 68"

"Best Golf Umbrella of 2018"

Wind/Water Resistance
1st
Coverage
2nd
Opening Speed
6th
Handle
12th
Durability
2nd
Total
89
1

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What We Liked

The Gustbuster has been crowned “Best Umbrella of 2018” for the second year in a row. The 68-inch canopy is built to handle the toughest of on-course conditions. Although the Gustbuster is fully manual, it opens efficiently. Durability is again the Gustbusters strength as it can withstand winds of more than 55mph. The innovative bungee cord venting system that connects the canopies allows air to pass through the umbrella effectively and without damage.

Pros

  • Available in many different colors
  • Can withstand the harshest of conditions
  • Well_designed and built
  • Grip design is outstanding
  • Other sizes available

Cons

  • Grip material rubs off when wet
ShedRain

ShedRain

Wind/Water Resistance
3rd
Coverage
6th
Opening Speed
13th
Handle
6th
Durability
1st
Total
87
#2

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

Many of you might not have heard about ShedRain, but it’s time to recognize this up and coming brand. We tested the smaller version of the Vortex and came away impressed. Designers clearly paid attention to every detail necessary to keep you dry and comfortable during the wind and rain. Structural arms are reinforced for greater durability, and the cupped ends prevent them from popping apart in heavy wind out during extreme conditions. Overal, the ShedRain Vortex is a top-performer, which offers a stylish design and multiple color options.

Pros

  • Well-designed umbrella
  • Very stylish
  • Withstands the most extreme conditions
  • Reinforced arms provide confidence
  • Strong material

Cons

  • Needs to be larger to provide maximum coverage
Gustbuster 62

Gustbuster 62"

"Best Value"

Wind/Water Resistance
1st
Coverage
12th
Opening Speed
6th
Handle
12th
Durability
2nd
Total
85.5
#3

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

The 62-inch model is the little brother of our top-ranked model. It offers all the advantages of the larger version in a more compact design. Despite it’s smaller size, the 62-inch model still provides enough coverage to keep you dry. The 62-inch model is a compelling offerings for golfers seeking a functional and durable umbrella with a more compact design.

Pros

  • Available in different colors
  • Can withstand the harshest of conditions
  • Well designed and built
  • Grip design is outstanding

Cons

  • Grip material rubs off when wet

2018 Golf Umbrella Buyers Guide

NAMECOSTWIND/WATER RESISTANCECOVERAGEOPENING SPEEDHANDLEDURABILITYSCORE
Gustbuster 68"$49.951st2nd6th12th2nd89
ShedRain Vortex Vent$69.993rd6th13th6th1st87
Gustbuster 62"$39.991st12th6th12th2nd85.5
Weatherman 68"$95.0015th1st1st16th2nd84.5
Under armour Umbrella$49.995th3rd13th6th8th84
LifeTek$39.956th6th6th6th6th83.5
Cobra Double Canopy$30.006th6th5th18th6th82
Titleist Tour Canopy$80.004th12th6th6th8th82
Bag Boy 68$49.9512th3rd3rd6th14th81.5
Sun mountain Umbrella$59.956th5th13th3rd14th81
Weatherman 62"$89.0016th111st16th2nd80.5
PING 68$65.0010th9th13th1st13th80.5
Big Max Aqua UV Protection$49.906th17th6th6th8th78.5
Totes Vented Canopy$26.5112th15th13th12th11th76.5
Bag Boy Wind Vent 62$27.0017th17th3rd3rd11th75.5
Vice Guard $49.9519th9th6th3rd17th73.5
Mizuno Double Canopy$39.9510th14th19th19th16th73
PING 62$49.9518th19th6th1st17th65.5

 

The Rest of the Field

Weatherman – If you are someone who wants extra features then the Weatherman is the one for you. The 68-inch umbrella boasts the “Best Features of 2018” which include a mesh pocket for your glove, rubber slot for a towel, and Bluetooth connectivity in case you misplace your umbrella. Despite these extras,  the Weatherman has its down falls. With heavy rain, there were a few drips of water that came through the seams at the top of the umbrella which resulted in the golfer getting a little wet.

Under Armour – This Under Armour umbrella is not only very stylish, but overall it’s a good umbrella. The durable material allows will save money in the long run as you likely won’t need to replace it for quite some time. The double canopy design offers room for improvement. The construction is overly tight and doesn’t allow wind to pass through.

LifeTek – For $39.95 the LifeTek golf umbrella offers great value. It works well and is affordably priced. The automatic opening system works brilliantly, allowing you to focus on golf instead of fighting with your umbrella.