Kevin Plank, special team’s captain for the 1995 University of Maryland football team, got fed up with always having to change out of his ratty old, sweat-drenched T-shirt that he wore under his shoulder pads. He noticed that the compression shorts he was wearing were always dry. “What if” he thought, “we apply these same principals to a T-shirt?” Soon after graduation, Plank began experimenting. Using a moisture-wicking synthetic fabric, the first prototype was developed and given to some of his Maryland teammates who had graduated to the NFL. Plank soon perfected his craft, designing a new T-shirt constructed of microfibers that wicked moisture away and kept athletes light, dry and cool. It wasn’t long before competitors such as Nike, Reebok and Adidas saw the greener grass and began to produce similar moisture-wicking garments.
Flash forward several years later and Oakland Raiders quarterback Jeff George is featured on the front page of USA Today wearing a UA mock turtleneck; now people are beginning to take notice of the company. Under Armor’s first “big” sale came when an equipment manager from Georgia Tech placed an order with Plank for 10 shirts. From then on it was the snowball effect and orders came pouring in from other Division I schools. As word got out that this was the real deal, the company began to launch new lines of apparel: ColdGear, TurfGear, AllSeasonGear and StreetGear. And, almost nine years after starting the company, Plank was able to put himself on the payroll. The next year, Under Armour was named official outfitter of the XFL football league. Not too shabby for a guy who started out in his grandmother’s basement in Washington, DC in 1996.
Under Armour has since opened several specialty stores and factory outlets in Canada, China, and 39 states. On January 21, 2014, it was announced that the University of Notre Dame and Under Armour had come to terms on providing uniforms and athletic equipment for the university. This 10-year deal is the largest of its kind in the history of college athletics and went into effect July 1, 2014.
I was recently sent several pieces of Under Armour apparel to review, among them shorts and polos featuring UA’s new Coldblack technology, which reflects IR rays so even dark colors won’t get as hot, thus keeping you cooler in the sun. Coldblack shorts are stretchy and lightweight, which is important when spending hours on the course either playing or driving range. The shorts fit loosely, giving you the best range of motion possible, and the Moisture Transfer System wicks sweat away from your body. The 30+ UPF also protects you from harmful rays. The shorts feature a flat-front, four-pocket design with zipped back right pocket, slide-snap closure and zip fly. The performance waistband uses elastic stretch for added mobility and UA logos are embroidered on the shorts. My favorites are the Gingham Plaid shorts.
The Bent Grass Golf shorts are light and breathable; just the right weight for someone who plays every day. They too have a loose fit, an 11” inseam and feature the Moisture Transport System. The flat-front, four-pocket design has a back right phone/media pocket and an embroidered UA logo below the left pocket.
Coldblack Polos allow players to stay cool in the hot sun, which explains why Hunter Mahan can wear a black shirt while playing in Arizona in the summer! They are made from a smooth, soft anti-pick, anti-pill fabric which has a cleaner, snag-free finish. The 4-Way Stretch fabrication allows for greater mobility in any direction and UA’s Anti-Odor technology helps to prevent the growth of odor causing microbes. The Coldblack Polos also feature the same Moisture Transfer System and UPF protection found in the shorts.
The UA Front9 Jacquard Polo is a lot like the Coldblack Polo but adds in extra breathability. The stripes you see in the shirt are actually engineered mesh which gives the shirt more ventilation.
I found these shorts and polos to not only be very effective at keeping you cool and dry in the hot Florida sun, but also good looking, I had several comments on my combination of lime-green neon shirt and blue shorts. The fit is true-to-size and the color choice is pretty good as well. It was 93 degrees out when I decided to give the Under Armour polo and shorts a try. Believe it or not, I was the only one in the foursome not drenched in sweat at the end of the round. I am now a true believer in Under Armour apparel!
Under Armour can now be considered a player in the golf apparel industry. With players like Hunter Mayan and the up and coming Jordan Spieth wearing their gear, you can count on them being around for a while. You can purchase Under Armour apparel at most major golf retailers or on their website at www.underarmour.com.