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A Serious Article for a Serious Topic

I recently came across an excellent article from 2011 in an optical trade magazine focusing specifically on golfing sunglasses, including prescription golf sunglasses. It’s rare that golfing eyewear receives such well-researched, critical, and non-marketing based writing, and I was particularly interested in the discussion of lens filters like tints, polarizations and mirrors, as they specifically relate to golf. (The article can be found here, at 20/20 magazine.)
If you want to give some critical thought to eyewear, both for the golf course and beyond, I’d highly recommend checking out the article. There were a few points with which I thought were a bit under-explored or limited:
- The author makes golfers seem like grossly irresponsible spenders with money to blow on the latest trick piece of gear or advice. Something about this seems inaccurate or unfair, no? I feel like golfers are more like responsible spenders trying to navigate a maze of marketing and promises.
- The author is definitively not in favor of polarized lenses, citing the reduction of glare as an impediment to performance. Glare, he believes, helps us play better because it provides the visual input our brains need to process ground contour and wind direction. Part of me understands this reasoning, but part of me also wonders if the guy has ever played golf in polarized lenses. You still see glare, and you can still notice wind direction. The greatest advantage of the polarized lens is precisely that you can open your eyes bigger and see more clearly because you don’t have to squint and battle against the glare bouncing off the world. Polarized lenses are great and they do an excellent job of reducing glare, but they’re not magical and they don’t eliminate glare entirely. They reduce it, still allowing you to see and notice reflection and ground contour and sheen off blades of grass billowing in the breeze, but not be blinded by their sheen.
- The author also mentions that the prescription formulas and adjustments needed to accommodate a prescription lens to a curved-format, wrap-around sunglass frame are highly specialized and not something that should be left to your standard optical shop. He explains that many companies like Oakley, Rudy Project, Kaenon or such will either have in-house labs or outsource their Rx work to a remote partner laboratory who can use the latest technology to create optimized lenses for contemporary sport sunglasses. This is absolutely true, and it’s a perfect example of what separates good, machine-made prescription work from the custom, handcrafted prescription lens work we do here at Golf Rx.
There is always a lot of marketing talk about new prescription technology. It’s always the latest and greatest, obviously. Usually there are accompanying, stylish ads with cool graphics showing rays of light or lines of vision as they pass through a lens. Or it’s the old split-screen between “their” lenses and “our” lenses, in which “our” lenses are always crystal clear and bright and everyone is smiling and “their” lenses look like a blurry doom. But really, all of the good companies (and those are the companies I’m talking about, the ones who make a good, respectable product) are using very similar lens materials – most of us get them from the same sources. And all of these companies have some very nice, state-of-the-art machinery to make lenses. They press a button and out pops a lens. Tada! That’s how a pair of five hundred dollar glasses get made, by the press of a button in a manufacturing lab somewhere.It’s a far cry from the intimacy and personality of a Golf Rx lens, but company character aside, the difference is in knowing what to program into those machines. It’s in understanding the real world application of what those machines pop out and being able to consider a dozen different factors that go into of a piece of prescription eyewear and knowing how to put it all together to create a pair of glasses that will work for each individual wearer, all of whom has a unique prescription with unique needs. The difference is in attention to detail and it’s in a strong, necessary desire for perfection, because in something like optics anything less than perfect is, simply, less than clear.
Apologies for the slight tangent, but for us it’s important to make the distinction that we’re more than a place that takes online lens orders and presses a button on a machine. In conclusion, the article was well-researched and thoughtful.
In case you missed it above, the article can be found here, at 20/20 magazine.
Polarized sunglass lens for golf.

Polarized Lenses for Golf

Polarized Lenses.

Should you wear Polarized Lenses for golf?

Yes. Yes, you should. But only if you like them.

Polarized sunglass lens for golf.

Polarized Rose-Copper Lens.

What is a Polarized Lens?

A polarized lens is a lens with an embedded filter that blocks light that comes through specifically on the horizontal axis. This light is what we recognize as glare. For the wearer, this means that a polarized lens blocks glare reflected off various surfaces and it makes for a more pleasant, sharper optical experience, and creates an experience at which your eye can perform at its best level.

How is it a Polarized lenses different from a standard, tinted lens?

You can quantify the benefits of a polarized lens vs non-polarized lens with light meters that read the amounts of light that are filtered by the lens, and it helps to understand that while non-polarized lenses filter all light, on both the horizontal and vertical planes, meaning it generally diminishes the light that reaches your eye which can serve to mute your overall visual acuity. A polarized lens lets the useful, vertical light pass through the lens and only blocks the distracting, hindering horizontal light. More simply, you can qualify the difference between the two lenses by wearing a polarized lens on and noticing how it feels.

After spending a few hours on the golf course, a polarized lens will let you finish your round with fresher eyes that are less fatigued from squinting through glare. They will give you a clearer view of the course, of the ball as it leaves the tee and of whatever else you look at while you’re golfing. Personally, I notice that after I’ve hit my ball I can find it at a distance more easily because of the way the polarized lens reduces the sheen that bounces off the grass, letting the ball stand out in greater relief. It’s not just about the ball, though, and simply put, a polarized lens makes for a better perspective. They come in a lot of different tones and colors, and the best color is the one in which you feel most comfortable.

Some Other Points:

– Some people feel that a polarized lens distorts your ability to read the green, and the best explanation I’ve heard for this has been the way the sheen off the grass betrays the green surface and the read of the putt. That’s fine, and I think it makes sense. Glasses aren’t glued to your face.

– I’ve heard that polarized lenses can feel “distorting”. Again, if that’s your experience, it’s too bad. First, I’d probably say that not all polarized lenses are created equally. Materials and quality matter, you get what you pay for, etc. I’m sure inferior lenses can feel distorting, and they can probably lead to headaches as well. There are some people who have true sensitivity to polarized lenses, as well as certain lens materials, but more often than not there’s an error or quality issue in the lens.

– A polarized lens isn’t necessarily right for you. The same way your driver and your shoes aren’t necessarily the very best options for me, a sunglass lens is an individual choice and largely a matter of personal preference. If you don’t like them, don’t wear them. But if you haven’t tried them you should, because they can be quite nice. Ask yourself when you play. What time of day and in which light conditions? What do you currently wear, and do you find yourself squinting against brightness or struggling to let light find your eyes? Besides golf, where will you be using these?

If you have questions about polarized lenses or which style lens is right for you, ask an expert. Call us or write us.


Single Vision, Lined Bifocal, or Progressive?

We specialize in prescription lenses, and while we’re glad to offer dozens of lens options and combinations, our choices can also be overwhelming. Rather than speak optical gibberish at you until you’re disoriented enough to either open up your wallet or hang up the phone, I”d like to make an effort to explain some of this stuff. Today, we’ll learn how to answer the question: What focal style lens would you like?

Your options are:
Lined bifocal.
Progressive bifocal.

Single-vision lenses are lenses that have one, static focal strength throughout the lens. If you can’t see the pin without your glasses, but can still read your scorecard, then you need single-vision lenses for distance.

Lined Bifocals and Progressive Bifocals are for golfers who may or may not be able to see distance clearly, but who need help seeing up close.

In a Lined Bifocal the majority of the lens has a focal strength that accommodates distance vision. Some people require no correction, meaning the majority of the lens has a very minimal correction. Other people require strong distance correction. In either case, the Bifocal component of the lens is a distinct section, marked by a flat, visible line across the lens, which is the area of the lens that has a fixed focal power tuned specifically for near vision.

A Progressive Bifocal operates under the same premise, with the upper, majority of the lens having your distance vision and the lower portion focused on your near vision. However, the unique aspect of the Progressive Bifocal is that instead of a flat, visible line, there is a graduated progression of a focal change. This graduation typically begins around the bottom of your lower eyelid and progresses towards the bottom of the lens. While the Lined Bifocal has a single, fixed focal power, the Progressive Bifocal has a range of focus that increases in strength, so that as your eye moves downward it can find increasingly strong focal sections of the lens, enabling you to use one set of lenses for a variety of focal distances.
In practice, this means that in a progressive lens you can look through the upper portion of the lens to follow your drive, you can look through the middle to see the ball at your feet, and look through the bottom of the lens to open your beer.

There isn’t a right lens for everyone. It’s simply a combination of what type of lens you require and what type of lens you feel most comfortable using.


Welcome to Golf Rx

Welcome to Golf Rx, the golfing division of Sports Optical. My name is Kyle. I’m an optician at Sports Optical, a golfer and tennis player, and the guy who manages our blog posts. I’m here to give some real, authentic advice on what goes into a pair of prescription golf glasses, but I want to begin by explaining who we are and what we do.

Sports Optical has been a pioneer in the prescription sport optics industry since the mid-nineties. We were the first to have the ambition to craft prescription lenses in curved-format sport frames, and we were the first to do it well. The premise is simple; we take a prescription intended for a flat lens and adjust it to adapt to the curvature, angle, shape, etc. of a sport lens with the goal of providing distortion-free optics and fully-functional peripheral vision. The application is more difficult. The optical formulas are extremely nuanced, the measurements require great precision, the tools and materials are always evolving and often at fault, the entire process is frustrating and it is, ultimately, quite difficult to execute on a consistent basis. Sound like anything you know?

But this is what we do. We’ve devoted the past twenty years to crafting the best prescription sport lenses in the world, and by many accounts, we’ve absolutely succeeded. We’re proud to have a customer base that spans the world, we’ve had articles and 5-star reviews written about us in publications across a variety of sports and industries, and in our storefront in Denver we welcome folks who travel long distances just to visit us. However, while we’ve been making glasses for golfers for years, we’ve finally gotten around to creating a website devoted purely to the game we all love and hate and persist at. For prescription golf glasses, you can now turn to Golf Rx.

Future posts will discuss a variety of topics, from frames and lenses best suited to certain light conditions and climates, to the glasses worn by Tour professionals, to my recent experience on the course. For today, I’m pleased to open our doors, thank you for visiting.