When is a golf shirt not just a golf shirt? When it’s a piece of high-tech equipment that incorporates NASA-developed material, innovative design and unique construction to help regulate the wearer’s body temperature. Then it becomes what you might call a smart shirt, since it reacts to your skin temperature to either pull heat away or produce warmth.
How it Works
“We focus on fabric innovation and design to make people more comfortable when they play,” said Ian Worgaftik, the director of retail at the Boston-based Ministry of Supply. The company has woven its advances into not just golf shirts but pants and shorts that can help keep players warm – or cool – on the course.
The coolest (ha, ha) such technology is the company’s proprietary application of phase-change material, which encapsulates paraffin wax inside the core of the fabric’s fibers, as if each fiber were a tiny straw filled with solid material. The paraffin melts when it’s heated slightly above normal skin temperature. So when the wearer’s body heat rises, the wax melts, absorbing heat and pulling it away from the body in the process. If the clouds come out or the wind picks up – or the 19th hole has the air conditioner cranked up – and skin temperature drops, the wax hardens, which releases heat. NASA developed and uses phase-change material to keep astronauts comfortable in their space suits. If it’s good enough for space travel it should be able to help on the golf course – and who doesn’t want to say they’re basically teeing it up in a space suit?
Considering the interplanetary connection, Ministry of Supply uses phase-change technology in its appropriately named Apollo 3 polo, which also features another of the company’s body-cooling innovations: pique-knit construction. This technique creates “capillary” action by positioning small pores on the inside of the fabric, facing the skin, and larger pores on the outside. These small-to-large vessels act as funnels, shunting moisture away from the body. That allows the material to dry faster and creates airflow that, according to Ministry’s research, makes it 19-times more breathable than cotton.
The third temperature-control measure in the Apollo 3 comes from specially constructed polyester strands incorporated in the fabric. Polyester is hydrophobic, which means it naturally repels water. Ministry of Supply creates micro channels in the polyester, so as it gets wet, it pushes the moisture horizontally across the fabric, spreading it over a wider area, which allows it to evaporate faster and keep you cooler.
That’s three ways Ministry of Supply uses technology help make your days on the course more comfortable, all in one golf shirt, which is why sometimes a golf shirt is more than just a shirt.