Best Golf Sunglasses: Oakley Flak 2.0
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I’m going to get straight to the point. If like me, you need prescription lenses then Oakley Flak 2.0 XL should be top of your list.
I’ve been wearing the previous generation of them now for about 10 years and don’t have a bad thing to say about them.
In fact, I like them so much I now have three different pairs!
For those of you that are still undecided let’s take a deeper dive into some of the best golf sunglasses on the market and what features you should be looking out for.
Do You Need Sunglasses?
Given that you’re going to be outside for up to 5 hours when playing a round of golf I think some form of protection for your eyes is extremely important.
A day at the beach without proper eye protection can cause a temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye, similar to sunburn.
Reflected sunlight from snow, sand, concrete and water, and artificial light from sunbeds, is particularly dangerous.NHS Website
Good quality sunglasses will provide protection from harmful UV rays. They should also lessen the strain on your eyes by saving you from squinting.
What Sort of Lenses Should I Get?
Most manufacturers will provide a selection of different lenses to do slightly different jobs.
Basically, these lenses will adjust the level of tint based on the intensity of light you are experiencing. Given how long a round of golf can take the weather and therefore the amount of light may change quite a bit. Having photochromatic lenses means your glasses will adjust giving you the best vision at all times.
These are designed to reduce glare and are particularly useful when you’re involved in watersports for example. Many complain of a lack of depth perception when using polarized lenses so they may not necessarily be the best choice for playing golf as depth perception plays a big role in the game.
Some manufacturers such as Oakley produce golf-specific lenses which are designed to increase contrast making it easier for you to read greens for example.
If you are going to make a serious investment then I would advise opting for lenses designed for golf.
The most important thing is to make sure you are buying a quality lens that protects your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Buying cheap glasses is likely to be a false economy as they may not offer the level of protection you need even if you aren’t in the market for prescription lenses.
Another distinct advantage of purchasing modern sports sunglasses is the ability to swap out the lenses quickly and easily. You could have different types of lenses for different activities. For example, use golf-specific lenses when playing golf but swap them out for polarised lenses when you’re driving your boat.
Going for modern polycarbonate lenses also reduces the overall weight of your glasses in comparison with a standard glass lens. Polycarbonate lenses are also less likely to get scratched.
Most of the manufacturers listed below produce a variety of styles. You should be able to find something that you like the look of and that also fits your face.
If you’re looking for prescription sunglasses then your choices maybe a little more limited but there are still a lot of different models to pick from.
Personally, I don’t have any issues with wearing my Oakley Flak sunglasses all the time. You may prefer to buy more traditional-looking glasses that you can use anywhere without feeling self-conscious. This may mean a trade-off in terms of the performance on the golf course though.
Traditional sunglasses such as an aviator style would have tended to be constructed using a metal frame. Most modern sports sunglasses tend to use some form of plastic although different manufacturers like to come up with wonderful names like “unobtanium” To describe their construction materials.
I have occasionally played golf using traditional sunglasses but I find that modern sport sunglasses tend to offer a better experience as they are designed for the job.
Since you are going to be wearing them for anything up to 5 hours they also need to be comfortable. Modern sports sunglasses tend to have rubber pads to offer a comfortable and secure fit. Since they are also designed to be lightweight that means they are less likely to cause issues during prolonged periods of use.
Many of the manufacturers will sell some form of rigid case to house the glasses when you’re not using them. I purchased such a case for my Oakley’s and this also included space for additional sets of lenses.
You should also keep a microfibre cloth handy in order to wipe down the lenses at regular intervals.
Oakley, for example also provides a lens cleaning solution to help you keep your lenses in tiptop condition.
So now you know what sort of things to look for here are some of the best options around.
Yes, I’m biased in favor of this model as I own three pairs of the previous generation.
Flak 2.0 looks pretty similar to the earlier model but you can get them with prescription lenses if required. The only problem I have going for Oakley prescription glasses is the fact that in the UK you’re looking at about £350! ($483)
I found trying to play golf in ordinary glasses quite tricky as when I moved my head I found myself looking through the edge of the lens making it difficult to play. I started looking around for options and given that many tour players use Oakley glasses I figured they would be a great place to start.
While the standard lenses that came with the original flak model were still a little small for my liking the larger XLJ lenses did the trick.
In the current range, the Flak 2.0 XL is the equivalent model.
If you need to get prescription lenses then I would highly recommend you get an eye test from an Oakley authorized optician to make sure you get the correct measurements. For UK-based readers, I found that Vision Express was not that great unfortunately and you may find it difficult to find another authorized stockist!
If you can get away with standard lenses then you can pick up some good deals on the internet although you need to watch out for counterfeit goods.
A more normal-looking pair of glasses that are employed by a number of tour professionals. Featuring Prizm Dark Golf lenses they are particularly useful on bright days. You can order prescription lenses in this model.
One of the more recent additions to the Oakley range. Reasonably large lenses that should work well for golf. You can get this model with Oakley’s Prizm technology and also with prescription lenses if you need them.
Radar EV Path
Oakley also produces several wraparound-style sunglasses such as those worn by David Duval. You can also get these in a prescription version online at SportRx.
Probably not renowned for their eyewear Nike’s Maverick Free model looks like a good fit for golf and will also be available for those in need of prescription glasses.
Available for around $200 with standard lenses rising to around $320 for a pair of prescription glasses.
For those looking for more modern styling, the Tailwind model may fit the bill. Available as a standard pair of sunglasses for $150 and with prescription lenses for around $300.
Henrik Stenson Eyewear
The winner of the Open Championship at Royal Troon in 2016 had long been seen on the course wearing sunglasses.
He decided to bring out his own range of sunglasses and now has three different models to choose from. Currently in their third iteration as Henrik is a bit of a perfectionist!
These look like quite a nice pair of glasses however probably best avoided as the only review on the Callaway website suggests the construction quality is not very good.
The Kite model is the only pair of Callaway sunglasses with lenses designed for golf. Seems a bit odd since Callaway is a golf company!
They are currently unavailable on the Callaway website but are listed on Amazon. They do have mostly good reviews but again aren’t any good for you if you need a prescription.
If you’re on a tight budget then Tifosi’s Vero sunglasses come in at just $50. With almost unanimous four and five-star reviews on one of the sites I looked at these are almost certainly going to give you the best bang for your buck! Those of you in need of a prescription pair should be able to pick these up for $200.
Probably best known for their compression gear, Under Armour continues to diversify across a wide range of sporting goods and accessories including sunglasses.
The lenses in the Golf Octane model are designed to enhance contrast and obviously will protect you from harmful UVA/B/C rays.
You can pick up a pair for around $110. I couldn’t find any prescription options from Under Armour though.
Probably not the first name you think of for sports sunglasses but they are one of the most well-known brands in the sunglasses niche. Their classic aviator style has been around for decades and if you’re after a more classic look then you could pick up a pair for around $160 or if you need a prescription version then that’s going to set you back around $240.
While these will look great off the course, I’m not sure they’re such a good choice when you’re playing golf. You’re likely to have issues with the field of vision not being wide enough as your head moves during your swing. You may also find the glasses don’t stay on your head as securely as the more modern plastic frames by the likes of Oakley.
Bolle makes a couple of different styles of golf sunglasses the Lightshifter and the Bolt. The Lightshifter is more of a wraparound style. For those needing prescription lenses, Bolle does offer a prescription service.
PeakVision offers a wide range of sports sunglasses. Interestingly their lenses seem to be a hybrid with the upper zone designed to reduce glare while the lower zone improves contrast. No mention of any prescription options though so if you need corrective lenses then it looks like you’re out of luck.
They do have some nice-looking sunglasses in standard lenses but their prescription glasses are ridiculously expensive coming in at around the $600 mark! For that money, I’d rather stick with Oakley.
Mistake to Avoid
I’ve seen at least one website suggest getting over glasses for those of us that normally wear prescription glasses. While you might get away with this when you’re driving or sitting by the pool I don’t think it’s a great option to play any sport in.
If you need glasses then unfortunately you’re going to have to bite the bullet and get some decent prescription sunglasses or start wearing contacts and standard sunglasses.
Of course, you could always try laser eye treatment but personally, I don’t fancy that!
For me, function trumps fashion when it comes to glasses as I need them to help me see objects in the distance. That’s why I chose the Flak XLJ model. You might be more fashion-conscious than me but now you should have a good shortlist of models to try.