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Review: Oakley Performance Golf Sunglasses

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Pros: Lightweight, comfortable sunglasses that meet the high standards in precision optics and impact resistance. They’re available in more than a dozen styles with Oakley’s golf-specific G30 iridium lenses and most styles are further customizable.

Cons: They’re $110+ per pair.

Bottom Line: The combination of sporty and casual frames in Oakley’s golf-specific sunglasses line makes its shades hard to beat for golfers looking for a pair they can wear comfortably on and off the course.

Overview

Long before Oakley’s golf apparel took root with some of the PGA Tour’s best players, such as Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Ricky Barnes and Derek Ernst, it was the company’s famed sunglasses that put the Southern California company on the map in the golf world, and for good reason.

Oakley continues to make some of the highest-performing sunglasses on the market, and its 2014 line of golf-specific sunglasses are evidence of that. Its catalogue includes 13 different models: the Holbrook, RadarLock Pitch, M2 Frame, Flak Jacket (asian fit), Radar Pitch, Fast Jacket XL, Flak Jacket, Half Jacket 2.0 XL, Fast Jacket, Fast Jacket XLJ, Fuel Cell, Hijinx and Half jacket 2.0 (asian fit).

Oakley fans are probably familiar with those models, but what they might not know is just how much goes into their design. Yes, they’re made to look cool, but every one of Oakley’s performance sunglasses also goes through ANSI (American National Standards Institute) impact testing to protect against the impact of heavy objects at low speeds and lighter objects moving at fast speeds.

Those tests include a 1-pound metal spike dropped on Oakley’s sunglasses from 4 feet and a 0.25-inch steel shot traveling at more than 100 mph. You can see how Oakley’s sunglasses did against some of its competitors in the short video below.

The biggest danger golfers usually face on the course is the sun, however, and Oakley’s shades are designed to protect golfers from the sun’s harmful, long-term effects such as cataracts, photokeratitis and pterygium. Each of the company’s Plutonite lenses, which are made from plastic pellets that are melted down and injected molded to their specific shapes, protect against 100 percent of the sun’s UVA, UVB and UVC ultraviolet radiation.

g30-before_1g30-after

You might be scratching your head about what makes Oakley’s golf-specific sunglasses different than the company’s normal sunglasses. The answer is not much, other than the company’s rose-colored G30 iridium lenses, which are designed to emphasize the light and dark shades of the colors green and brown.

The Review

For this review, I tested Oakley’s M2 frame ($160), which is the modern-day version of the original M Frame sunglasses that were popularized with golfers by David Duval. I wanted to test the M2 Frame specifically, because I’ve been wearing the original M Frames for more than a decade.

Oakley also offered up its new Holbrook sunglasses ($130) for this review, which are much more casual than the M2’s (pictured below). Both had Oakley’s G30 iridium lenses.

M2 Frame

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As you might expect from a pair of decade-newer sunglasses, the M2 frame was lighter and more comfortable than the M Frames I’ve worn almost my whole golfing life. Their slightly lighter weight probably isn’t enough for most golfers to upgrade to a new $160 pair of sunglasses, but if you’ve never worn a pair of Oakley’s with the company’s G30 lenses, they could persuade you to take the plunge.

My biggest criticism of my M Frames was their dark lenses (black iridium polarized), which were great when it was sunny and not so great in cloudy conditions. On those days, I found myself leaving the sunglasses on my head or hat so that I could find a ball in the rough and better read my putts. I’d put them on in a bunker, however, because hitting a bunker shot in the dark was always a better for me than a cornea full of sand.

The G30 lenses were a huge improvement for the course, and I now understand why they’re the lens of choice for many professional golfers. They’re dark enough to protect against the sun, but not so dark that I had to take them off when clouds rolled in. While neither pair was polarized, I didn’t have any issues with glare. If polarized lenses are your thing, however, you can get polarized models from Oakley in most of its sunglasses.

While I can’t say that they helped me read my putts any better, they did seem to help me find my golf ball a little faster, especially in the shady areas of a tree-lined golf course.

Maybe the simplest test I can offer to golfers who doubt the G30’s ability to help them on the golf course is the “smartphone test.” Say you have an Apple iPhone, for example. Take a look at the iMessage icon, which on most phones is green, with and without the G30 lenses. You’ll notice that the light green parts of the icon get a lot brighter and the dark green parts get a lot darker. The G30’s do the exact same thing with grass.

Holbrook

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The Holbrook’s were the surprise of the test for me. I knew that I’d like them for casual wear, because they have a larger size that fits my face better than smaller sunglasses like the Flak Jacket, but my experience with casual sunglasses on the course had been horrible. Most of them would not stay on my face when I started to sweat, and some even came off my face when I swung my longer clubs.

While the Holbrook’s don’t offer the wrap-around protection of the other sunglasses in Oakley’s performance golf line, which keeps light from bouncing off the inside of the lens and into the eye, I had no problems with them staying on my face. They were lightweight, comfortable and gave off a much more laid-back vibe than the M2 frames. They look especially great when I decide not to wear a hat, which is more often now as I try to work on my GolfWRX tan (read no tan at all).

Even when my face started to sweat, the Holbrook’s held their own, which I attributed to the RayBan Wayfarer-like curve in their arms, which settled comfortably around my ears. If you’re one who really sweats a lot or plays in warm climates, you’ll likely want to stick to a pair of Oakleys with the company’s Unobtainium nose piece and temple sleeves (also know as the rubber things that sit on your ears), which actually offer a better grip when they get wet.

The Takeaway

photo

Oakley’s sunglasses probably won’t survive a run-in with a train (or a golf cart for that matter), but they’re designed to handle all the normal hazards you’ll face on the course and in real life. They’re lightweight, comfortable, more durable than you’ll likely ever need them to be and the precision of their optics are second-to-none.

If you take your sunglasses and eye protection seriously, there are few companies that provide as many high-performing options as Oakley’s golf performance line.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.oakley.com/en/collections/mens-golf” oemtext=”Learn more from Oakley Golf” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002EL308W/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002EL308W&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=W4NFD26MC26WJX6X”]

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. moncler bambino a roma

    Oct 11, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Many thanks for providing these details.

  2. Martin

    Jul 29, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    I have always worn sunglasses, mostly to protect my eyes as they are somewhat sensitive to glare and my Mom went blind form macular degeneration.

    I have been playing golf with the same pair of Radars with the red looking lense since 2007, they never leave my bag and they are awesome. I generally keep them on except if it’s raining.

    I’m a big fan.

  3. Ian

    Jul 29, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I have been wearing the Holbrooks since the start of the summer, having never worn shades on the golf course before I was worried it would take a period of time before they would feel natural. I was massively impressed from the first time I put them on especially with the golf specific G30 lenses. I now play in them all the time and actually find the lense a benefit to my game especially when green reading and contouring around the greens. A must purchase in my view!!

  4. Mats B

    Jul 20, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I’ve abandoned my Oakley’s for a pair of SunDog glasses with their Mela lens, shaded in Brown. My opinion is that SunDog’s lens is more versatile in mixed weather conditions….. 🙂 And cheaper too! 😉

  5. ParHunter

    Jul 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I have been wearing Oakley prescription glasses for years now and they are absolutely fab. I have a Half Jacket with G30 lenses and a Flak Jacket with transition lenses. I got the transition lenses as normal sports glasses but because I did not get on with my normal variofocals glasses, I was wearing these oakleys exclusively for over a year. I only realised how good they are when I got a normal pair of glasses again. I never had problems with the nose pads (with normal ones you often get these red patches on your nose) and the oakleys never got dusty or dirty. My normal glasses I have to clean all the time. But I wouldn’t recommend the transition lenses. They get very dark when it is not that sunny on cold days but don’t get that dark when the sun is burning, I prefer the G30. Very good for golf, nice contrast.

  6. Jon Silverberg

    Jul 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    website correction: framesdirect.com

  7. Jon Silverberg

    Jul 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I’ve used Oakley Flak Jacket XLJ frames with distance prescription G30 iridium lenses for golf since April (distance prescription made by Frames Direct.com) and I’m very pleased with them. The color differentiation is great, the distance sharpness is terrific (I see the results of drives further away than almost anyone I play with) and the frames’ ability to remain exactly where they started throughout the swing, even in heat & humidity, is also great.

  8. Pingback: Review: Oakley Performance Golf Sunglasses | Spacetimeandi.com

  9. Moon

    Jul 16, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I have a Holbrook, and I find it even better for golf than the previous generation Oakley performance series. For some time, I wore Maui Jim, but recent come back to Oakley was a pleasant surprise, and cheaper too. 🙂

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized laser rangefinder

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Product: Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized laser rangefinder

Pitch: From Nikon: “This state-of-the art golfing laser rangefinder packs the stability of the Coolshot 80’s vibration reduction into an even more streamlined body. The red Oled internal display’s automatic brightness adjustment makes viewing easy in any light, while Hyper Read measurement response time is a speedy 0.3 seconds (approximately) over a range of 7.5-1,090 m. Locked On technology quickly defines overlapping subjects so you’ll be sure of an accurate reading to the flagstick, plus ID Technology gives a guide distance for uphill and downhill courses.”

Our take on the Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized laser rangefinder

Nikon has packed the Coolshot Pro Stabilized full of innovative features with a hugely beneficial streamlined profile. But we’ll get around to that a little later, as at the core of this laser rangefinder is its Stabilized Technology.

Whether it’s the conditions, or an inability to keep your hand perfectly steady when shooting your target, the issue of vibration is usually the main problem when it comes to rangefinders. However, with Nikon’s Stabilized Technology, that vibration is reduced by approximately 80 percent. The steadiness of the rangefinder may need to be seen to be believed, but with the Coolshot Pro Stabilized, any issues golfers have with taking a steady shot of their target can expect them to vanish with this rangefinder. More accurate results and likely speedier rounds (yay), what’s not to love?

This lessening of the vibration works in conjunction with Locked On technology, and it’s a powerful combination that creates a premium rangefinder. The Locked On technology in the Coolshot Pro Stabilized allows golfers to home in on their target, without the fear of the rangefinder locking onto the wrong target in the background. A small green circle frames your desired target, making sure that it is giving you the correct distance for your shot, and it’s not only extremely accurate but quick too. The Hyper Read Tech allows users to find the distance they want according to the company in “0.3 seconds – regardless of distance.” A claim that is difficult to dispute.

Another great feature of the Coolshot Pro Stabilized is its ID Technology. This technology takes care of all the incline, slope etc. The rangefinder from Nikon accurately reads the yardage taking into account the downhill or uphill nature of the pin, while the product also lets other competitors know when the ID Technology is off. If you’re competing in an event, a green flashing light indicates that the ID Technology is turned off, making it clear that actual distance is what you’re measuring, and that you’re abiding by all the rules.

Now let’s get down to the size, which makes all of the features we’ve talked about even more impressive. As you can see from our in-hand photos, the Coolshot Pro Stabilized is tiny and weighs just 180g. The advantages of having a small rangefinder are obvious as it can be carried or kept in even the smallest pocket of your bag easily, and the Coolshot Pro Stabilized is also both waterproof and nitrogen-purged to make it fog-proof. The range finder also features six different brightness levels and comes with a sweet 5-year warranty.

At around $450 the Coolshot Pro Stabilized is high-end and not cheap. But with the impressive features and high performance, it’s a product which combined with Nikon’s 5-year warranty justifies that price-tag. If you’re looking for a top-shelf rangefinder, then the Coolshot Pro Stabilized is very unlikely to disappoint.

 

 

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Stitch SL1 golf bag

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Product: Stitch SL1 golf bag

Pitch:  From Stitch: “Designed using Stitch Golf’s durable Touring Fabric, a proprietary product used in the SL1 golf bag as well as the Ultimate Garment Bag (UGB) that has the strength of leather, but is more durable, lightweight and waterproof. The SL1 is sleek in design and weighs only 57 oz, making it “the perfect caddie bag” or the perfect cart bag.”

Our take on the Stitch SL1 golf bag

Stitch Golf may be best known for its headcovers, but just like its headcovers, the SL1 golf bag stands out, and for all the right reasons.

The bags feature bright colors, and the clean and classic look gives off a feeling of nostalgia. While the retro look is undoubtedly appealing, there are plenty of modern features that make these bags a serious competitor at the moment.

The SL1 golf bag weighs just 57 oz, so you can see why the company describe the product as “the perfect caddie bag.” The low weight is a huge advantage, and to provide a super light bag such as this, Stitch has concentrated on minimalism and pulled it off. The bag features two side pockets which are deep enough to carry the necessities for any round. While sitting above the two deeper pockets are two smaller pockets, designed to provide golfers with the opportunity to store their car keys, wallet etc., and a space for a small water bottle.

The actual stand features thin legs that are strong and create an excellent base for the bag to rest,  while the angle which the bag sits at makes it very comfortable for getting your clubs in and out without any difficulty. The SL1 features a single strap, emphasizing just how light this bag is, and makes it an ideal bag for walkers on the course, while the bag also fits comfortably onto carts. While you may think a light bag such as the SL1 may not be ideal in harsh weather conditions, the bag is waterproof and comes with an attachable matching rain hood, which is a very cool addition.

The concern with svelte bags such as the SL1 is usually the number of clubs you can comfortably carry. With the SL1, however, that concern isn’t there, with the bag easily holding 14 clubs, without the prospect of the clubs getting stuck all the time.

All bags come with an orange “Stitch” logo near the front of the bag. The orange “Stitch” logo, it’s also worth noting, from my perspective looks very striking and possibly at it’s best on the “Brushed Forest Green” SL1.

The personalization options are one of my particular favorite features of the SL1.  Along with the Stitch logo, golfers have the option of either getting a two-letter personalization which sits on the upper portion of the large right pocket, or a three letter horizontal personalization. The simple looking personalization suits the style of the bag perfectly.

With plenty to shout about, the Stitch SL1 also comes with a steep price tag. At $328, the SL1 sits among premium-priced golf bags, and with its classic, minimalist look, many golfers will be looking for some extra funky features for that price, which is understandable. But it’s that classic look that makes the SL1 so appealing, and in a market full of big bags with fancy gadgets, the SL1 delivers on all the essentials while offering golfers the opportunity to stand out on the course with a sleek, stylish looking bag from an independent business.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones

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AfterShokz Trekz Air Wireless Open Ear Headphones

Honestly, this is not a review we intended on doing. Wireless headphones were not on our radar for 2019, and certainly not on our list of “golf essential” equipment. But an ad for Aftershokz headphones caught our eye. Sleek. Lightweight and “Open Ear”? We needed to check them out in person. With that, here we are.

Product: AfterShokz Trekz Air wireless open air headphones

Basically, this is a wireless headset with bluetooth connectivity with and open ear design. You can still hear your music AND the world around you at the same time. It’s a bit of genius. If you like sports but are one of those “one earbud in, one out so you can hear your surroundings” people, AfterShokz is marketing to you.

Pitch: From AfterShokz: “The next generation of bone conduction technology is what’s inside our lightest and most organically designed open ear headphones to date. We cut the bulk and used titanium everywhere possible to ensure they not only fit more securely but sound better too. Trekz Air are inspired by the demands of elite and aspiring athletes motivated by their music and their world.”

Our take on the AfterShokz Trekz

While the AfterShokz Trekz Air are not golf specific, they are a nearly perfect accessory for your range practice time. They are comfortable, sweat and water resistant and have very good sound. The open air nature is a huge plus, so you can still hear the world around you while listening to music, a recorded lesson, or a golf tempo trainer. Aftershokz claims up to a 6-hours of continuous use on a single charge. We found that to be fairly accurate.

While the $149 price point is not small change, these are not golf specific and can be worn daily. We found them to be plenty comfortable jogging, biking and just running errands. Some reviewers on the internet claim they weren’t as comfortable on the ears over a long period of time, but we didn’t experience it. We were able to wear them comfortably for extended periods with and without glasses or with or without a hat or helmet.

Very impressed.

One criticism is we felt the mic functionality was a little spotty. The users on the other end had some difficulty hearing us on the phone. It works in a pinch, but for longer conversations, we thought it was just easier to disconnect the device and put the phone to our ear.

While AfterShokz Trekz Air wireless headphones won’t make your golf game better, their one of our favorite golf accessories of 2019 so far.

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