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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: Uther Supply golf towels

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Product: Uther Supply golf towels

Pitch: Via Uther: “Uther cart towels use the highest quality material and construction which have been tested to perform season after season…Uther’s unique blend of moisturize wicking, soft microfiber is 3x more absorbent than cotton and 5x more durable…Waffle pattern to easily remove even the most stubborn dirt in club grooves and golf ball dimples…Uther is the creator of the fashionable golf towel. Features unique sublimated prints and designs that make a fun accessory for both men and women golf bags.”

Our take on Uther Supply golf towels

Most golfers have a “logo” towel hanging on their bag today. Typically you’ll see the name of a course the golfer has visited, or an OEM name. Uther Supply towels, however, are different. Uther (pronounced “other”) Supply Founder Dan Erdman described his inspiration for this unique line of golf towels in an interview with GolfWRX a few years back:

“When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together… I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.”

They have certainly succeeded in creating a new type of towel in the marketplace. We used them over several rounds of golf, in various conditions to put them to the test.

Meant to be shown off, Uther golf towel designs are creative and clever, with some of the most popular being the “Happy Gilmore inspired” Cart Towel and “90s coffee cup” Tour Towel. There of course, are many others to choose from.

Of course, let’s not forget that the primary function of a towel is to clean your golf equipment. That might seem easy but we at WRX have ordered some custom towels from other manufacturers in the past and were disappointed in the performance. Uther’s towels, however, succeed in both form and function. They’re stylish, but they also are an excellent functional towel. You’re like to be impressed at how light they are as well. These aren’t bath towels, but rather high-quality microfiber blends that Uther says are 3x more absorbent than cotton.

As far as cons, if we’re nitpicking, you may need to find a larger carabiner clip for some golf bags if you want to hang your towel in a more prominent place. These are made to show off, after all.

Prices range from $28-$35 USD and are available for purchase at uthersupply.com, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy in the US and Golf Town in Canada.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

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Product: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

Pitch: From Adidas: “Designed for protection from the elements, these golf shoes have enhanced cushioning to return energy on every swing. The shoes feature a spikeless outsole that flexes with your foot and has strategically placed lugs for outstanding grip and balance. An innovative closure system is built for micro-adjustments so you get the exact fit you need.”

Our take on Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

Golf shoes are curious creatures existing in a strange place? No? Finally free of the gravitational pull of traditionalism, shoe styles are finally at a place where form follows function. And while you may pine for the days of saddle shoes aesthetically, your feet (and likely your golf swing) surely do not.

While the shoes are also available in gray/white and black/white colorways, we tested the bolder dark marine variant.

Now, “good” footwear, as we are constantly wont to admit, is highly subjective. As of yet, you can’t test two pairs of kicks on a TrackMan and determine which is superior (rumored featured of TrackMan 5). So leaving aside aesthetics and how you like your shoes to fit, we provide the most valuable information, that is, regarding stability, cushioning, and traction. However, in this case, it’s also worth noting the closure system does allow for a more precise fit (and one that stays in place) than lace-up shoes do.

With respect to comfort, first of all, anything Boost is going to be comfortable, and these shoes are no exception. And whether you refer to the “Forgefiber in the upper features heat-pressed, TPU-coated fibers…stitched in” to the upper (as Adidas does), or merely the sensation that the Forgefiber Boas provide a solid foundation during the swing, the truth is the same: sound, stable here.

A look at the Puremotion outsole showcases some serious spikeless technology that also offers performance on par with the very best in spikeless footwear.

A final word: These shoes are no porous sieve, either, as you might be concerned they could be on first glance. Adidas’ Climastorm technology in the exterior yields a respectable level of water-repellency.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Swag ball markers and divot tool

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Product: Swag ball markers and divot tool

Pitch:  From Swag: “Swag is the brand that isn’t scared to push the limits in a conservative sport that isn’t evolving to meet changing styles. We like to listen to music on the course, we want to be bold, we love having fun, we love golf, and we’re going to express that both on and off the course. We aren’t going to try to sell you on how great our proprietary materials are and we don’t need to rely on clever marketing to sell more. We’re a no BS company. What matters is that our putters feel good and in turn make you feel good when putting. We have some crazy ideas, we love to tinker, and we experiment on how to perfect everything we do.”

Our take on Swag’s ball markers and divot tool

Swag Golf is creating some of the most sought after products on the market right now, with their funky headcovers and putters all being in high demand. Well, the companies ball markers and divot tool are no different, both of which are easily identifiable as coming from this emerging company who create high-quality products.

The Skull is the companies flagship symbol, and their Stainless Steel Skull Marker their most recognizable marker. The skull marker features black and fluorescent paint, with the bright sunglasses on the marker giving it a vibrant look. 100% CNC milled, the tool contains the companies name engraved on the back of the marker.

A variation on the Skull Marker is the companies Rainbow Skull Marker. Just in case the black and fluorescent paint job on the former wasn’t flashy enough for you, Swag’s Rainbow Skull Marker will make sure to get you noticed, containing the same features as their Skull Marker with a Rainbow PVD finish.

Moving away from their Skull Marker’s, Swag’s St Paddy’s Day Cap Marker is more than worthy of a mention. Identical in size to a bottle cap, the St Paddy’s Day inspired marker features a hand polished golden finish, with the word Swag in green written on the front, while on the back the words “Swag Golf Co.” as well as the company’s philosophy “Don’t give a putt” featured.

The company describe their bottle cap/marker as not being the first bottle cap/marker on the market but “the best one” out there. While I can’t confirm how true that statement is, I can certainly say it is an excellent one.

Swag’s first divot tool is the DTF Divot Tool. Get your head out of the gutter, that stands for “Down To Fix”. The device comes in a black and lime paint job, and an impressive weight of 49 Grams which should ensure that it doesn’t go missing on you.

The divot tool, like their ball markers, is 100% CNC milled and made from 303 Stainless Steel. For a Swag product, the writing and branding on the tool is quite minimalist, and it is as clean and sharp looking a divot tool as I’ve seen from the 2019 releases.

As always with Swag products, the only issue is the limited releases and how quickly the items go, which is no surprise considering the unique products as well as the quality provided. They are, however, continuing to create and release more and more products and their website, as well as their social media sites, are all well worth keeping a close eye on if you’re looking to snag some of the companies top gear in the future.

 

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