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Visible Technology

By: James A. Frank

Hat, sunscreen, lip balm. Are all the key body parts protected when you head out to tee it up on a sunny day? Not unless you’re also wearing sunglasses. You need a good pair of shades to fend off harmful UVA and UVB light rays, while polarization and other features fight glare and allow good vision in a range of conditions.

I’ve been testing two different pairs of sunglasses, each with a special feature. Tifosi is a company out of Georgia that supplies glasses in a wide range of frame and lens styles at very affordable prices. All their models incorporate top-of-the-line technology, offer interchangeable lenses, and are light and stylish.

Tifosi offers three of its frames with its clever “Reader” lens, which has a small magnifying area at the bottom for those of us who need a little help at close range. (You can see the little reader window in the photo, above left.) You won’t notice the +1.5 or +2 magnification in normal use—driving the cart, lining up your shot, watching it sail—but when you need to look down at the scorecard and pencil in that birdie, simply glance down and the Readers provide just enough help to bring things into focus. They’re also effective off the course for tasks like texting, map reading, even checking your watch. $50. Tifosioptics.com

You may have seen ads for Transitions lenses, what the company of the same name refers to as “adaptive sunglasses” that adjust to the light, automatically darkening and lightening while enhancing color, contrast, and depth perception. Transitions lenses now are available in golf-specific glasses from three companies big in the golf market.

Callaway NEOX glasses (shown, top right) are designed for golf and other outdoor activities, increasing depth perception, distance vision, and clarity. Oakley is offering both prescription and non-prescription sunglasses in a number of their most popular frame styles and colors. Nike MAX are available in non-prescription lenses in the company’s proprietary tints for golf and other sports. All are designed for use both indoors and out, adapting to the light while reducing glare and protecting from UV damage.

In my testing of a Callaway pair, the best thing I can say is that I didn’t notice I had them on. Not only are they lightweight, but when moving from dark to light there was no sudden fall of darkness to mask the sun. There seemed to be no change at all until I realized that’s the point, to provide the same clarity in all light. I kept looking for a change, kept waiting to see the lenses darkening before my eyes, but if they did—and of course they did—I didn’t notice.

Prices vary. Check with each company to see how and where to order their glasses with Transitions lenses.

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