Golfing glasses the pros use to their advantage

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick May 16, 2024 13:17

Glasses are not uncommon in golf. Some courses in Europe and the US are sun-drenched, and players need sunglasses to cut down on glare and help them focus. They’ve often been featured as part of the merchandise presented at the PGA Merchandise show and are essential for many golfers’ kit bags.

Some pro golfers, such as Cameron Smith, can be seen wearing designer sunglasses because of an eye condition, in his case, pterygium. Known as surfer’s eye, it means the Australian needs to protect his eyes on the course, hence the sunglasses. For amateur players, it might just be a chance to keep the sun out of their eyes or even to correct their vision.

Not all golfers, both professional and amateur, have perfect vision. Tiger Woods, for example, needed contact lenses and glasses before corrective surgery, so on courses across the UK, people right now will be wearing glasses or sunglasses with prescription lenses. Brands such as Oakley, popular with golfers due to their Prizm lenses, which help with clarity, can also be fitted with lenses to correct vision. They can help players pick out greens and blues more clearly, leading to a competitive advantage.

Having that type of aid might seem mildly unfair, but Phil Mickelson is not a man to bother about that. He’s trialled glasses before; he wore a pair of USwing Green Reader tinted sunglasses, even in the rain. He found they helped his focus and improved his game, and since then, he’s been experimenting.

In May 2024, he was again seen wearing sunglasses, this time the ProAim Putting Training Glasses. They’re specially designed putting aids, which Mickelson perhaps hopes will help push him towards a third PGA Championship in 2024. You wouldn’t put it past him; there were 16 years between his first and second titles, and he’s eagerly trying to find a competitive edge to make it a hat trick.

How do these glasses work? Designed for putting, they have light enter via a piece of yellow plastic beside the right eye and feature an orange grid on the lens. With these features, it creates an alignment grid in the field of your vision. That means a golfer can ensure they’re square on to the ball, promoting a straight-back and straight-through stroke. That, in theory, should lead to fewer missed putts. Given his horrible 2009 missed putts at Bethpage Black, that might be the advantage the veteran star needs.

Mickelson isn’t the only golfer to use the ProAim Putting Training Glasses: Natalie Gulbis and former Open champion Mark Calcavecchia have both been known to wear them. However, Mickelson is a heavyweight in the golfing scene, and when he wears something new, it turns heads. The same went for his choice of sunglasses in the rain last year, and he even took to social media to defend himself when quizzed about his eyewear. “They are light enhancement glasses that are made for overcast and rainy days,” he said of the USwing Green Readers he wore at the 2023 PGA Championship. “They add light, help to read greens and protect from wind and rain drops. They’re not for everybody. In fact, not many people even know of them.”

On that occasion, the glasses were not a success for the 53-year-old. He shot 73, 72, 75 and 70 in the four rounds, finishing tied 58th and 19 shots behind winner Brooks Koepka. He’ll certainly be hoping to improve on that in 2024, and who knows, perhaps you might even start seeing these unusual goggles on a course near you soon.

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick May 16, 2024 13:17
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