Playing Golf with Glasses: 3 Top Tips to Know

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Playing golf with glasses? Here are some must-know tips for golfers to have the best experience on the golf course.

I’m a golfer that uses prescription glasses on the golf course.

If you wear prescription glasses, chances are you’ve wondered if it’s possible to effectively play golf while wearing them. The short answer is yes!

With a few adjustments and the right pair of glasses, you can golf to your heart’s content. In this blog post, we will provide some tips on how to play your best golf with prescription glasses.

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Importance of Vision in Golf

The ability to see the golf ball and pin is an essential part of a golfer’s success. Golfers should be able to sight the ball clearly, make out the contours of the fairway, judge the depth of objects around the flight path and the hazards lying en route, as well as read the greens. 

The ability to visualize each part of the process, and the hand-eye coordination necessary for execution, depends on receiving accurate visual information and putting it into action.

Experts list a number of subliminal techniques at play such as:

  • Peripheral vision
  • Focus or concentration
  • Depth perception
  • Visualization

All these factors contribute towards your ability to master the course and the conditions. Leaving any part of the journey to approximations can result in less than optimum outcomes.

Glasses for Golf

photo showing golfer playing golf with prescription glasses as he looks into the distance from his golf cart to the next hole, holding the steering wheel.  Golf glasses see the ball better.
Playing golf in varifocal glasses 

Golf has often been likened to life. One of my favorite golf quotes is from Bobby Jones who truly defines the game with accuracy.

“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get good breaks from bad shots; you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies.”

Bobby Jones, Famous Golf Quotes

We can take that analogy a step deeper in the context of prescription glasses and say that using them on the course is no different from using them in real life. If you can drive a car wearing glasses, why should you not be driving off the tee wearing them?

People who use prescription glasses in their daily lives say that once they put them on, they don’t even realize that they are wearing them and go about their activities without any care or concern. In short, once it is a part of life, it is just that…an unthinking part of your life that makes it richer and more colorful.

Some golfers are concerned about using glasses when it is raining. Or when it is too hot, too cold, or too bright.

There is no need to start overthinking whether to play golf with prescription glasses. As Phil Knight would say, “Just Do It.”

Read Next: The 58 Greatest Golf Quotes of All Time

Getting the Best Glasses for Golf

First and foremost, it is important to choose the right pair of glasses for playing golf. You want a pair that fits snugly but comfortably on your face so that they don’t move around when you swing.

You also want a pair that provides good peripheral vision so you can see the whole course. This can be helpful in reducing glare from the sun and making it easier to see the ball.

Another thing to keep in mind when playing golf with prescription glasses is to be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to where the group ahead of you is and make sure you give them plenty of space.

Also, be cautious of errant balls coming towards you from other players. Wearing prescription glasses does not make you immune to getting hit by a golf ball (#1 reason for hospitalization for golfers).

Read Next: 8 Most Common Golf Injuries for Golfers & How To Avoid Them

Bifocals & Distance Only Glasses

golfers who wear prescription glasses like bifocals.  It's best to keep them in a box when not wearing them, like in the photo.  Shows a black framed pair in a box.
Bifocals: Golfing with prescription glasses

As we age, reading or other activities requiring focus on close objects often becomes more difficult.

Long Distance Glasses for Golf

Those that already were using prescription glasses for correcting myopia (near-sightedness), then progress to bifocals. Since bifocals have two focus ranges, this can cause distortions and impair judgment on the golf course.

Therefore, using prescription glasses on the course is recommended especially as distance only glasses.

Playing Golf in Varifocal Glasses

While distance only glasses will handle most game requirements, at specific points, you will need to focus on items close to your eyes. One example, you will need to read and update the scorecard. What do you then?

Unlike bifocals, which have two focus ranges, long and short, Varifocals change strength gradually from top to bottom, resulting in a much smoother transition between distant and close objects. You will not need to either take them off or switch to another pair even when you update the scorecard.

You may need different clubs for different distances. But with Varifocal glasses, you won’t need different prescription glasses for golfing.

Top Tips on What to Look For When Playing Golf with Glasses

The golf course getting rain is not ideal for golfers in general much less golfers playing with prescription glasses.
Playing golf with prescription glasses in the rain.

Conditions on the golf course vary daily on the weather and other related factors. You could be switching from dull and grey to brightly lit during the course of a game.

You could also experience rain showers on the course. You may need to play one shot from a brightly lit fairway and the next out of a shaded rough. 

#1 Pick the Light Weight Frames

In general, the lighter the frame, the better for golf. Heavier frames can tend to slip during hot, sweaty conditions. Modern materials like titanium provide toughness to the frame without adding weight.

Frames also have the flexibility that allows for a better fit. Rimless or semi-rimless prescription glasses will permit an uninterrupted field of vision for the wearer, especially since golfers need to look down while addressing the ball.

#2 Pick the Best Lens Color for Golf

From browns to yellows to purples and blues, there are a wide variety of tints available, and it’s difficult to know what is the best lens color for golf.

With tinted lenses, prescription glasses can work like sunglasses as well, reducing the glare on bright days, which all golfers hope describes all their golfing days. 

Brown and brown-like shades such as hazel, copper, and amber seem to be favored by many golfers as they enhance the contrast of the primarily green surfaces, enabling better reading of greens and depth estimation. Rose tints are also popular on the course, with a similar impact as shades of brown.

Blacks, grays, and greens can be used for reducing glare on really bright days but have a limited effect on contrast enhancement. 

#3 Ensure Proper Fit

Make sure you get the necessary adjustments for playing golf with prescription glasses. Since each pair of glasses is made to order, specify your needs to your optometrist.

Professional Golfers with Glasses 

One does not usually associate professional PGA golfers with prescription glasses (or other top athletes for that matter). It seems to be an expectation that, like the different parts of their body which are in top physical shape, their eyesight is, too.

While golf sunglasses make quite a fashion statement, prescription glasses are almost always more noticeable because they are rarely seen in PGA golf.

But the truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle.

Professional golfers are part of the pack of top athletes in prime physical condition, with good vision being one of the parameters. However, they remain subject to the vagaries of nature, with some having better eyesight than others.

You may be surprised that many professional golfers use sunglasses with prescription glasses or contact lenses. Hale Irwin, Zach Johnson, David Duval, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, John Daly, Justin Rose, Ricky Fowler, and Bernhard Langer are some big names that readily spring to mind.

Some have also undergone corrective surgeries like Lasik vision correction. Depending on their vision needs, many golfers make necessary changes to improve their overall performance.  

Read Next: Bernhard Langer: The Incredible Rags to Riches Golf Story

Amateurs Playing Golf with Glasses

One factor unique to professional golfers is that they can stay on top of their game later in life compared to other professional athletes. Hence, prescription glasses are more important in golf than in any other sport.

And that is true for amateur golfers too. Even if they have not used glasses at a young age, as they continue to golf into their fifties, sixties, and beyond, the need for prescription glasses arises at some stage.

Amateur golfers tend to pay less attention to vision as an essential contributor to their game. Instead, they tend to think that as long they can see the ball, having a general idea of the direction and distance is enough. However, they do so at their peril and that of their scores.

Final Thoughts: Glasses for Golfers

As a golfer who enjoys playing golf with prescription glasses, I hope you found this article helpful.

Playing golf with prescription glasses is definitely possible—you just need to take some extra precautions to ensure they fit well for optimal results. Following my top tips will help you have a great time playing golf with your prescription glasses.

Always remember to speak with your optometrist to ensure you have the best prescription glasses for your specific needs.

Read Next: Hale Irwin: A Living Legend in the Senior Golf World

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Ankur is a seasoned golfer. He picked up the game over 30 years back. Initially irregular because of moving from one place to another in his MNC bank jobs, he has now been golfing regularly over the last 15 years once he dropped anchor in Gurgaon, the booming satellite of Delhi, where he has access to the best courses in the country. He is able to maintain a handicap of 18. He is a published author and a business consultant.


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