By Mike McAllister
Truly Seeing Golf with Oakley's G30 Lens
As golfers, we’re always looking for an edge -- from tee to fairway to green. What if you could gain an advantage by simply choosing the right pair of sunglasses for golf?
This was the question I was asking myself as I spent a couple of days in Florida with Oakley, testing their golf-specific G30 Iridium lens during the week of the Honda Classic.
Like most of us, I’ve been guilty of choosing sunglasses based on superficial rather than performance criteria. Color, style and what my wife thought looked best on me prevailed over benefit gained by application. Even though I favored high-end brands like Oakley, optics and the purpose for which the lens was designed were clearly an afterthought.
I saw the metaphorical light, however, when it comes to the benefits of proper optics for golf at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy. Oakley staff put the G30 Iridium lens up against a non-golf-specific Oakley lens. Swapping the G30 for the alternate lens provided an immediate and rather dramatic illustration of what using a proper lens for designed for golf can do for your vision.
The alternate lens performed as it should, darkening my view of the range and reducing whatever glare that may have existed as the sun hid behind the clouds. Swapping the alternate lens for the G30 revealed the previously hidden contours and textures that delineated the closely mown areas from of the range from the rough. The all-purpose lens blended these elements together, while the G30 made the contoured golf landscape pop. It wasn’t quite as though I were comparing a black and white television signal to HDTV, but it was close. I then hit a couple dozen shots on the range, alternating between the G30 and an alternate Oakley lens. The G30 lens made it notably easier to select my target and to track the ball in the air, even against an overcast backdrop.
Around the greens the benefits of the G30 were even more noticeable. For many years, I’ve made habit of removing my eyewear whenever I was on or around the greens, as I felt I was unable to accurately choose my line and judge speed. However, the G30 lens not only revealed the ripples and rolls that lay between me and the hole, they readily brought out the grain -- a factor critical for anyone wishing to score well, especially on Bermuda grass. And it did so better than the naked eye.
We moved to the Palmer Course at PGA National to play a few holes wearing the G30 lens. A light rain, almost misty rain began to fall, creating a near fog-like effect. I commented to an Oakley staffer that the conditions must be disappointing as they’d surely not lend well to showing off the benefits of the G30 lens.
However, when viewed with the naked eye, the low-light conditions had flattened everything out making it difficult to tell where the fairway ended and the rough began. With the G30 lens housed in its RadarLock frame redeployed, the border between the fairway and rough was readily apparent.
A short par 4 of just less than 350 yards, I hit a fairway wood down the left side and the ball ended in the rough. The ball had settled in down in the Bermuda, and having lost a few balls in my time, I know it’s possible to walk within feet of your ball without finding it. Not to sound like the G30 is the magic cure-all for all golf ails (too late?), but the G30 seemed to make the ball stand out despite its gnarly lie. The lens had the same effect when looking at the green as I prepared to hit my approach, making the white flagstick and red flag stood out more, saving me from squinting it down, something these 45 year-old eyes tend to need to do on an increasingly regular basis.
As you can tell by now, I came away from the G30 testing with a new appreciation for how important it is to choose the right sunglasses based on their intended use. The Oakley G30 Iridium lens made it easier to choose a specific target and track the ball in flight, and it did enhance my depth perception and made it easier to detect the contours and grainy details around the green.
While Oakley’s G30 Iridium lens makes no promise of extra distance off the tee or tighter shot dispersion, it will markedly improve your view of that which lies in front of you, helping you focus on and react to your target better than before. All of which when combined will give you that extra bit of confidence you need to make a measurable difference at the end of your round, where it counts -- on the scorecard.
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