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Golf Sunglasses 101

Vojtěch Brtinský

Medically reviewed by Vojtěch Brtinský, Optometrist, on 14 Jul 2021
Written by Leonie Bauer

Golf sunglasses are fairly easy to find, as the market’s packed to the brim with thousands upon thousands of models from a plethora of bands you may or may not have heard of. However, picking the first pair with an attractive price tag and a stylish aesthetic won’t get you far, as each model of golf shades offers something different.

A pair of golf sunglasses need to be resistant to scratches, sit tightly around the ears, feel comfortable, and offer a sharper focus, enhanced depth perception, and adequate protection from ultra-violet rays, sunburns, and such. Let’s dig a bit deeper into the characteristics golf shades need to possess in order to be actually useful on the field:

So what should a good pair of golf sunglasses offer?

Lightweight frame

Although sunglasses can’t be too heavy per se, the difference in a couple of grams draws the line between a comfortable golfing experience and a painfully exhausting one. The three most popular materials used in the construction of frames are nylon, titanium, and beryllium.

Nylon frames generally offer a great balance between weight and comfort while being decently resistant to scratches. Titanium frames are a bit heavier than the ones made of nylon, although they can still pass for ‘lightweight’. Moreover, titanium frames are resistant to corrosion and tend to be substantially more durable.

Beryllium is in the golden middle between titanium and nylon and is a great option for people on a tighter budget.

lightweight sunglasses frame

UV Protection

Protection from ultra-violet rays is mandatory for golfers who are exposed to direct sunlight for several hours each session. UV rays are separated into three categories (starting with the least cancerous to downright lethal) - UVA, UVB, and UVC.

The most basic pair of casual shades is capable of blocking a large percentage of UVA rays, although such a model would offer little to no protection against the other two types. Golfing sunglasses need to be layered with an anti-UV coating that can block off UVA and UVB rays.

UV rays and filter category

The UVB rays can scorch the flesh and cause sunburns and cancer, so it’s imperative to find a pair of sunglasses that can shield your eyes properly. UVC rays seldom (if ever) reach the ground due to their remarkably short wavelengths. They’re typically absorbed and deflected by the earth’s ozone layer.

Wearing comfort

The wearing comfort of any pair of sunglasses is almost completely dictated by how well they fit a particular person. Tinted lenses somewhat have an impact, but not nearly as much as the size and weight of the sunglasses. The glasses that are able to stay in place without needing extra adjustments tend to feel more comfortable.

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Rubber Grips

Grips affect both the comfortability and stability of any sunglasses. This particular feature ensures that the frames remain aligned for longer periods. Grips are typically installed in the sides; better-quality sunglasses feature rubberized nose pads that also prevent the material from digging into the skin.

rubber grips in sunglasses

In addition to grips, you also may want to consider upgrading your shades with an eyewear retainer. These accessories are to be attached to the sunglasses, allowing you to hang the shades around your neck. While this particular feature does not affect the performance of the sunglasses, it’s meant to prolong their lifespan.

Mirror coating (flash coating)

Mirror coating is known as a form of the reflective optical layer applied on the exterior of lenses, substantially decreasing the intensity and amount of any light passing through your sunglasses.

Essentially, it’s a weather-proof coating that prevents both direct (sunlight) and reflected light (bounced off of surfaces). Flash coating is ideally paired with tinted lenses for the best effect, completely blocking all light that would otherwise be allowed to pass through.

advantages of mirrored sunglasses

Lens Colours (tinted sunglasses)

Tinted sunglasses are generally thought to be different from regular shades in terms of aesthetics exclusively. However, most people can tell that sunglasses with tinted lenses also feel differently. Each colour offers different benefits and presents different shortcomings:

Gray

Gray-tinted sunglasses are best-rounded in terms of performance as they’re filtering light in a manner that feels organic to human retinas. They’re also versatile, as they are equally great in cloudy and particularly sunny weather.

The main benefits of gray-tinted lenses include reduced eye fatigue, more organic light and colour perception, and reduced glare.

advantages of mirrored sunglasses

Yellow

Yellow-tinted lenses block off blue light, which in turn enhances contract, drastically increases depth perception, and offers a sharper vision in all weather conditions. Most professional golfers and fishermen use them as they offer reliable performance in all light conditions.

Green

Green lenses transmit colours evenly, slightly dim the effects of glare, somewhat brighten the shadows up, and improve focus. However, darker shades of green may affect the wearer’s spatial awareness, making tiny objects almost disappear while making bigger objects larger than they actually are.

They can be fairly useful for golfers who are accustomed to their quirks and peculiar characteristics, but it’s almost definite that a new pair would rather hinder the wearer’s performance.

A good way to get accustomed to green-tinted golf sunglasses is to use them with indoor golf simulators and tweak your home lighting. While they will certainly feel different on an outdoor course, you’ll get to develop a taste for their benefits and drawbacks in a more controlled environment easier.

Blue

Blue-tinted lenses are a spectator’s favorite. They ‘add’ a bit of everything in terms of colour, depth perception, and geometry, but that’s precisely what a golf player wants to avoid. They’re not as sharp and aren’t as dependable as gray or yellow-tinted lenses, but they can be used to enjoy watching a friend’s match.

Red

Red sunglasses are the least popular among golfers due to their invasive nature. They tend to dim the wearer’s vision and highlight darker objects, somewhat increasing the contrast between certain colour shades. Their main benefit is almost absolute absorption of blue light, which makes them more suitable for gamers than golfers.

Polarised lenses

advantages of polarised sunglasses



Basically, polarised lenses feature a chemical filter, which blocks all vertical light while allowing horizontal-oriented light to pass through.

These lenses are, when compared to mirror-coated lenses, different in the sense that they do allow certain rays through; this results in enhanced visual comfort, drastically reduced eye fatigue and strain, zero glare, and more organic colour perception.

Polarised lenses offer the full spectrum of benefits that tinted lenses offer, only with a weaker emphasis on individual aspects of performance.

How do polarised lenses work?


We hope that this brief guide was useful to you and that you have learned something new today about golf sunglasses. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!

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