There are two things that are often overlooked in our game. The importance of being custom fit and the need to be able to judge the lay of the land.
Having clubs, shoes and even golf balls that "fit" your game is necessary if you want to play your best. Being able to judge distances, increase depth perception, and the ability to notice even the slightest contours on the course, and most importantly, on the greens, is all too often overlooked.
Now, thanks to Oakley (www.oakley.com), golfers have the opportunity to put these two important things together.
Nearly all of us use sunglasses on a daily basis. We use them when driving, or walking, or just outside, but have you considered the benefits of wearing them while playing golf?
Today's sunglasses perform two tasks. First they protect our delicate eyes from the sun's damaging rays. Second, with golf-specific lenses, they will accentuate the contours and shapes on the fairways and greens, as well as assist you in following the ball while it's in flight.
One misconception that many people have is that sunglasses are pretty much all the same. Some ask, "Why pay a lot for sunglasses. Don't they all just block out sunlight?"
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Inexpensive sunglasses actually do more harm than good when it comes to your eyes. Cheap sunglasses are usually nothing more than dark lenses on cheap frames. These dark lenses cause your pupils to open further allowing harmful UV light in to damage your lens, retina and cornea. They also aren't coated to prevent those rays from getting through and may damage your eyes just when you think they are protecting them. Better glasses feature better optics, meaning less distortion so your eyes can focus sharply on what you are seeing.
A few weeks ago I was invited to experience a custom fitting at the Oakley Store (561-361-7177) in Town Center at Boca Raton. The store's manager, Kat Centeno, greeted me as I arrived after work one evening.
The Oakley Store features not only a huge selection of eyewear, but apparel, shoes, backpacks, and more. I had no idea how diverse this company is.
After a tour of the store, Kat went to work on fitting me with just the right pair of sunglasses. Not only must the glasses perform well, but they must look good on me, fit my face shape, and have lenses that do not interfere with me seeing the golf ball as I address it. To top it off, I had a ton of colors and other options to choose from.
After trying on several pair, I settled on the new Radar Lock frame. Besides looking really good on me, there are two features on these that I have been looking for. First, the lenses come down far enough that there isn't a line just below my eye that interferes with me seeing the golf ball when I'm going to hit it. Second, this frame allows me to easily switch lenses, going from an everyday lens to Oakley's G30 golf lens in a matter or seconds.
Once I decided on the frame, Kat showed me all the color choices I had. I wasn't stuck with just black or tortoise! This is where the truly "custom" aspect comes into play. I had 15 frame colors to select from. Then I picked the side band color from a dozen choices. The ear socks were next and even the Oakley logo. In all, there are about 10,000 combinations.
Lastly were the lenses. Obviously, I took the G30 Iridium Polarized golf lens. My second lens was the Red Iridium Polarized driving lens.
Of course, all of this is moot if the glasses do not perform. I've spent the past month or so putting my Oakleys through the paces on the course and on the road.
My Radar Locks are a true piece of equipment. They are as important to my golf game now as my putter or sand wedge. The G30 lens does everything it advertises. I am better able to read the greens, noticing subtle contours and even the grain of the grass, helping me sink more putts. I am also able to better follow my ball in the air and judge distance more accurately. The ear socks and nose piece grip my skin and prevent them from slipping no matter how much I sweat.
In all, having a pair of custom sunglasses, designed to help my golf game and protect my eyes, is something everyone should consider. Now if they'd only make a lens that finds a ball in a thick patch of palmettos or deep in the woods.
James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday Night Golf Show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.