“The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades!”
Many golfers have been wrestling with protective eyewear for years. We know the sun emits some harmful rays, and we would like to stop squinting for the better part of five hours, but wearing them during a round of golf can have its drawbacks.
Sunglasses tend to move as we swing. The pair we chose for style is not conducive to an athletic motion. Sure, those classic Ray-Bans (made famous by Hollywood, aviation, or the Eagles) look great on you. Yet, they’re not designed to stay in place while tilting your head down and making a golf swing.
We are not wearing them on overcast, cool days. The sun is shining and we’re on the move. That perspiration (OK, glow) introduces an adverse element in the goal of harmony between frame and face.
Also, the lenses may cause a disruption that is critical to a successful shot. For many golfers, sunglasses can cause problems with depth perception and contrast. When one stands over the ball, the ball may appear closer than it actually is. Around the greens, our view of distance between objects and changes in elevation may seem a little like one of those mirrors at a fun park.
For years, we have seen PGA Tour players with the sunglasses on before and after a shot. But during the shot, they are worn backwards or placed above the bill of the cap.
Recently, however, we are seeing more professionals wearing their shades throughout the entire round. Just a few weeks ago, Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship, viewing each shot through a pair of stylish glasses.
Who makes them? What are they? Do they help his game or is this more about protection?
We don’t know. Well, we know that Phil would not don some equipment that would impair his game. But, wearing them could simply mean that they are protective and game neutral.
When asked about the glasses some time ago, Phil said that a medical cream on his face inspired their use. He had to wear some protection for his eyes. This information was issued with a bit of humor and seemed a bit coy, which may provide some insight into the manufacturer.
One strong possibility is Mykita. Mykita makes sophisticated, attractive eyewear, and the style looks very similar to a type in their line. They’re expensive, but Phil can afford virtually anything or would be given whatever he wants.
Yet, there is nothing noteworthy on their site or information about sports or game improvement. They simply sell high-end ($500) eyewear.
Enter the USWING Green Reader. These glasses are specifically developed to protect a player’s eyes and improve their view of slopes and depth. According to USWING, the lens filtering technology is designed to improve the golfer’s ability to judge distance, see slopes, and grass patterns.
One style looks just like Mykita.
Why don’t we know? One, Phil has a contract with Callaway, which also sells sunglasses. Two, USWING is a growing company that is sold almost exclusively in Asia.
So, a bit of intrigue, but the point is, with technology improving, take another look at some sunglasses for the golf course. Get UV protection of 400 or greater. Make sure the frames are suitable for your frame. Even if there is more moisture, we don’t want movement during the swing.
And now, look for lenses that are designed for sports, hopefully golf specific. Commonly, players stay away from the gray colors and lean toward the browns and rose colors.
In addition to protecting your eyes, you may view some lower scores.
John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses