It is getting easier to spot pro golfers wearing sunglasses on the links, but it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, more golfers still go without sunglasses compared to those who use them. So what’s the deal? Why do so many pros not wear sunglasses given how much time they spend in the sun?
If you are old enough to remember the introduction of pro golf to television, you probably have memories of seeing guys like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer stroll up to the green at Augusta, squinting against the sun slowly setting to the west. Some of those guys wore hats or visors to keep the sun out of their eyes; none of them were shades.
Even today, the pro golfers who do not wear sunglasses easily outnumber those who do. There could be any number of reasons for this, explains Utah-based designer and distributor Olympic Eyewear.
Sunglasses Reduce Clarity
There is no getting around the fact that sunglasses, no matter their quality, reduce clarity to some degree. You just do not get as sharp an image as you do with the naked eye. For a lot of golfers, the lack of clarity is distracting. They want to clearly see everything they are looking at.
You could make the case that modern technology has addressed the clarity problem with polarized lenses. Technology may have improved clarity, but it certainly hasn’t solved the problem. With the stakes as high as they are, pro golfers just do not want to take any chances.
Sunglasses Can Be Uncomfortable
Another possible reason pro golfers don’t wear sunglasses is the fact that they can be uncomfortable. Remember that golfers are always looking down, then back up, and then down again. Even the best pair of sunglasses will tend to slip with so much head movement.
The only ways to avoid the slipping, especially in hot summer weather that produces perspiration, is to tighten the frames or add an elastic strap. Both solutions create what may be a worse problem: sunglasses that just do not feel good. The discomfort can definitely be a distraction in the heat of competitive play.
Golf Is a Dignified Sport
Sunglasses are considered rather showy in most circles. That’s why we have so many designer brands costing hundreds of dollars apiece. People buy their sunglasses as a means of showing their personal style. Yet this is incompatible with the dignified nature of professional golf.
Remember, pro golf has a very strict dress code. Some of the more exclusive clubs in America even impose dress codes on their amateur members. It could be that sunglasses just do not fit with those dress codes. It could be that sunglasses would draw too much attention to the individual golfer instead of the game. The powers that be in pro golf certainly don’t want that.
Fans Want to See Faces
Last but not least is the reality that sunglasses hide a good portion of the face. Fans may not have a problem with sunglasses in pictures and videos, but it’s quite possible that they prefer to see the faces of their favorite athletes in competition. It could be that pro golfers avoid sunglasses because they do not want to hinder interaction with the fans.
There is a lot of speculation about pro golfers and sunglasses. Perhaps we may never know the real reason golfers tend to avoid shades, but it doesn’t really matter in the end. What matters is that they play golf well enough to entertain the rest of us. Let us worry about the shades; they can just play.