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What should golfers look for when choosing sunglasses?
It’s only in recent years that more and more of the world’s top PGA tournament players have started to wear sunglasses out on the course and it’s surprising that many more professionals still don’t wear them. A relatively recent convert is Phil Mickelson – see our news story.
When playing golf your eyesight is your most important tool; your eyes help you to track your ball, read the greens, hit the ball well and judge distances for your shots. Yet many golfers leave their eyes exposed to harmful UV rays for hours on end. Consider too that the time of day you are most susceptible to UV rays is during the hours of 10am – 4pm: prime golfing hours. In simple terms sunglasses will help protect the wearer’s eyes from harmful UV rays as well as aide performance on the course. Good quality UV400 rated sunglasses will eliminate solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR), in particular the more damaging UVB radiation. Without this protection, over exposure to UV rays can lead to cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (the macula is a part of the retina that processes vision in the centre of our eyes).
Different coloured lenses can help make tracking the ball much easier, make reading the greens simpler and reduce glare for all round better vision. Wearing sunglasses also means you don’t squint in direct sunlight, and squinting can increase the wrinkles around your eyes and it’s no surprise that when you look at many of the more mature professional golfers that have never worn sunglasses they have heavily lined eyes.
Sunglasses especially suited for golf should have the following characteristics:
– Frameless or half frame (open bottom edge) or with a thin metal frame. This means the bottom edge of the frame doesn’t interfere with vision when the golfer looks down to take a swing or put.
– Lightweight frames. Given the extended wear time necessary (hours at a time) it’s very important the frames are light and comfortable to wear.
– Firm grip. It’s clearly annoying if the frame is too loose or slips down the nose when the golfer looks down or takes an aggressive drive. Non-slip temples and nose pads that grip the head / face will help.
– The right lens colours. The best all-round lens colours for golf are amber, brown or copper. These tints enhance the contrast of a white golf ball against the sky and the green background of fairways and greens. As they increase contrast they helping with depth perception, ‘reading’ greens and judging distances. Many high quality amber, brown and copper coloured lenses will also filter out blue light; blue light is at the hazy end of the light spectrum and by filtering it out everything in the field of vision will appear much sharper. Orange and red / rose lenses also filter blue light and will help in overcast conditions; it’s not unusual nowadays to see a professional golfer wearing eyewear with orange or rose lenses. In the last couple of years the purple lens has also gained popularity amongst golfers. Purple ‘dulls’ a green background making it easer to see the ball – it’s also a soothing colour that’s ideal for wearing for long periods at a time.
– A good wrap. Golf can often be played in windy conditions and so a sports style frame with a good wrap will keep wind out of the eyes. This also helps protect the eyes from the spray of fine sand when hitting a bunker shot.