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Polarized sunglasses and ability to read greens


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#1 doc k

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 10:52 PM

Last weekend I played golf with a gentleman that joined our threesome and he mentioned that polarized sunglasses severely affects ability to read greens. Any truth to this and if so what is the science behind it.

Thanks.


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#2 ZBigStick

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 11:07 PM

A good pair shouldn't but many sunglasses distort your vision and certain polarization processes further affect optical clarity.  Your brain tries to correct this in poor quality lenses and often cause headaches.  The Polarized filter is fused to the lens and the nature of the multiple methods of attaching the filter can affect vision.

It should not be an issue in quality optics brands such as Oakley, Kaenon and Maui Jim.

Polarization works like a venetian blind filtering light from extreme angles and reducing glare.  They are highly effective on water and snow as light will reflect and refract off of the surfaces, you can also see that glare off of a highway when driving.

Unless looking for your golfball on the edge of a pond or in a stream, i don't feel that polarized lenses are a valuable technology for golfing, but great for the beach, boating, fishing driving or skiing.
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#3 doc k

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 11:21 PM

Yes, U are correct in saying that polarization is not a valuable technology for golf. My impression is that golfers should not wear polarized sunglasses on the green.

U see many tour players remove their sunglasses before they putt.

Is it because they do not want any visual distortion from their sunglasses?

#4 generalbolg

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 11:38 PM

i wear polarized glasses when i play, but i have no confidence reading greens while wearing them. i dont think it has anything to do with the polarization, though. for some reason i feel shades smooth out contours and dont allow you to naturally see break. i wear grey polarized lenses, and have heard that the orange and yellow ones are pretty good for reading greens.

#5 Headgames

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 12:04 AM

I've been wearing Kaenon polarized sunglasses for years, and I've never had a problem reading greens with them on. If anything, I find it distracting to take them off since I end up squinting...

So long as you have a good pair, they shouldn't have any effect on how you read greens. Sure, they'll cost you some coin, but then, you've only got one pair of eyes, best take care of them.

Also, I disagree with the idea that polarized shades aren't effective for golf. You may not notice a difference on slightly overcast days, but on bright sunny days, I find that there is a noticable difference in the glare in polarized vs. non-polarized shades.


#6 HYDgolfer1111

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 12:38 AM

I don't know if there is any scientific reason behind this but I putt without confidence if I leave my sunglasses (polarized) on while reading the green.

#7 PuttingDoctor

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 07:27 AM

Aside from optical quality touched upon above the obvious reason for not using Polarization on the greens is that Polarization cuts the glare. The glare that you see in the difference of the way the grass lays, i.e. grain.

The reason you don't see the subtle contours or slopes is that the lens has muted all hint of reflected light.

Look for smoke or amber high contrast high density lenses in sunglasses that are optical quality lenses.

Don't forget that just like sunscreen what you wear today for protection will pay off 10-20 and 30 years from now.

#8 avg_joseph

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 10:11 AM

When I worked in a shop we carried Oakley and Maui Jim.  We would push non-polarized lenses from Oakley for those who wanted golf specific glasses.  Maui Jim's are great for everyday wear like driving and when you're out on the lake, but as many have already stated, polarized sunglasses filter out certain parts of light and so when you're on a green your not getting the entire picture.

I drive w/ Maui Jim's and I wear half-jacket's w/ Fire Iridium when I play

#9 EnglishBob

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 10:17 AM

Not just on greens but my depth perception is altered by polarized sunglasses too, I now wear non-polarized.

#10 doc k

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 10:24 AM

Thanks guys for all your replies.

Which brands of non polarized sunglasses would you all recommend.

My local golf course pro shop carries Oakley's but all his lenses are polarized, however he has an Oakley catalog which does list quite a few lenses that are non polarized.

What about Peak Vision -- anybody try these ?


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#11 outwardnine

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 11:59 AM

I have Bolle polarized for driving and Arnette non polarized for golf. The polarized lenses seem to make all greens look flat to me.

#12 littleprov1x

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 11:13 PM

I wear the oakley g-30 lenses (non-polarized) on radar's often while reading greens. I feel that they help a little bit actually. Super comfy glasses.

#13 thegooddoctor

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 12:03 AM

There is no truth to polarized lens distorting vision. But to make an extreme example, if I always saw things in green, and suddenly put something on my eye that made me see in purple, I might take it off during putting

#14 ZBigStick

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 12:13 AM

View Postthegooddoctor, on 02 May 2010 - 12:03 AM, said:

There is no truth to polarized lens distorting vision. But to make an extreme example, if I always saw things in green, and suddenly put something on my eye that made me see in purple, I might take it off during putting
:drag:  Who is seeing in purple??

Rose/Amber lenses to see contrast in the colors red and green.

Grey to see colors as is.
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#15 thegooddoctor

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:22 PM

View PostZBigStick, on 02 May 2010 - 12:13 AM, said:

View Postthegooddoctor, on 02 May 2010 - 12:03 AM, said:

There is no truth to polarized lens distorting vision. But to make an extreme example, if I always saw things in green, and suddenly put something on my eye that made me see in purple, I might take it off during putting
:drag: Who is seeing in purple??

Rose/Amber lenses to see contrast in the colors red and green.

Grey to see colors as is.

I was making a point about tint, not the actual colors seen. I should have said something other than green for first color ie blue, to make that clear. Polarized lens were created to block out harmful uv light and to reduce glare. The ability to read break of green or judge depth has nothing to do with either.


#16 ZBigStick

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:34 PM

View Postthegooddoctor, on 02 May 2010 - 08:22 PM, said:

View PostZBigStick, on 02 May 2010 - 12:13 AM, said:

View Postthegooddoctor, on 02 May 2010 - 12:03 AM, said:

There is no truth to polarized lens distorting vision. But to make an extreme example, if I always saw things in green, and suddenly put something on my eye that made me see in purple, I might take it off during putting
:drag: Who is seeing in purple??

Rose/Amber lenses to see contrast in the colors red and green.

Grey to see colors as is.

I was making a point about tint, not the actual colors seen. I should have said something other than green for first color ie blue, to make that clear. Polarized lens were created to block out harmful uv light and to reduce glare. The ability to read break of green or judge depth has nothing to do with either.

Polarization does not block out UV.
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#17 thegooddoctor

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:58 PM

Whoops that is correct, it does not. Thanks for the correction,I'm not even sure why I typed that. Optics involved in polarized lens can be simplified into it only allows light to pass through that is traveling at the "correct" angle, ie light passing lens at other angles do not penetrate it, and enter your eye, thus glare is reduced from not allowing scattered light in to eye. Main negative from this is for images on LED displays can become very dark or unviewable. (look at your comp screen with a pair on and then turn your head from side to side to prove this to yourself), or if glare is good, like for looking for ice patches.

#18 doc k

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 10:35 AM

Opps. opened a can of worms. Quite a bit of controversy regarding polarized light.

Any physicists out there who can explain or better still any opthalmologists or optometrists who can clarify this point.

Anyway I am going to test this out myself. I have a cheap polarized pair and a non polarized pair and on a sunny day I am going to see if there is a difference.

#19 CurtisBen

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 04:25 PM

I am not a physicists or an OD or MD but I am an optician who runs an optical lab.  I can promise there are people who can't wear polarized lenses for no other reason than they think they can't.  There is a minimal depth perception issue if you take them on and off I think but I have not ever had a problem reading a green.  Also the distortion in the lenses have more to do with the type of material the lenses are made of rather than the polarization of the lenses.  I would highly recommend a high quality glass lens there is nothing clearer made.

#20 hookem09

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 09:25 AM

I have been wearing my polarized Costa Del Mars while golfing for quite some time and have never felt that it has affected my ability to read greens or do anything else on the golf course, but thanks guys for giving me a new excuse for that putt not dropping!

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