Martin Hopley
By Martin Hopley

If you are fortunate enough to have perfect eyesight and normal eyes then avert them now. You don't need to read this.

For everyone else, get the bins on and make the font size bigger as you will want to see what I have to say.

I have been thinking about what is my most important piece of golf equipment, apart from my clubs. What is the one thing could I not play without and my answer surprised even me as it golf sunglasses.

It's not that I feel the need to look cool on the course - it would need more than a pair of golf sunglasses to achieve this.

It's not that I want to hide my emotions in the heat of battle like Duval, Stenson or, as my mates call me, Jarmo.

It's not even that I can't see what I am doing, although it appears that way sometimes.

No, it is because my sensitive baby blues dry out too easily and then I get massive headaches and have to go lie down with a damp golf rag on my head in a dark room.

Normally it's OK unless it is daylight or windy. A calm round of midnight golf would be bliss.

Thankfully these days wraparounds from Oakley and others not only protect your eyes from light and wind, but can also enhance definition on the greens. You can even order them with prescription lenses for those who are more visually challenged.

I have a myriad of interchangeable lenses including my 'Happy Lense' that make a gloomy day in January look like midday in June. Playing in Scotland I have even used all 3 lenses from happy through to super dark in the same round. We call it summer.

Now Callaway and Sunwise have taken this a step further and launched golf shades with transition lenses that change from light to dark as conditions get brighter, so I took them out for a closer look.

Callaway FT-iZ Transitions

Callaway FTiZ Transition Golf SunglassesThe FT-iZ is one of the Callaway Tour Authentic range of Transitions sunglasses and, unusually for golf shades, it has a metal Magnesium/Aluminum alloy frame and looks more like an upmarket range of regular sunglasses.

The Transitions lense use NEOX Technology to adjust to the reduced depth of field that occurs with normal sunglasses so that you can see the angles and lines in greater detail.

Out in the light the lenses did transition well from dark to light conditions although the darkest level was probably around a 3 on a scale of 1-4 so if you are in very bright conditions then a darker lense would be better for very sensitive eyes.

The adjustable nose pads and hinged temples mean that this will fit most head sizes and the lenses were medium deep. Given the more classic styling they were not as comfortable for long periods as a more 'sporty' design. However the looks means that you don't feel out of place wearing them off the course or in the car.

So if you want a hybrid style of transition shades for golf and general wear then Callaway's slightly premium pricing of around £140 may save you having to buy two pairs for on the course and off it.

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Sunwise Waterloo

Sunwise Waterloo Transition Golf SunglassesFor those who prefer a more sporty look the the Sunwise Waterloo glasses come in a variety of colours each with a Chromafusion lense that will react to different levels of light.

As well as being interchangeable the lenses are also polarised which filters out any surface reflections of light, such as the sun on the water of the lake you have just sliced your ProV1 in to.

Now, I am a polarised lense convert and have them in all my shades. Yes, I know they are more, but once you have used polarised lenses then you will love the fact that you are not blinded by the sun glinting on water on a course or off the road when you are driving.

The combination of polarised and transition lenses works well in the Sunwise Waterloo glasses, although again the darkest level was about 3 out of 4.

The more athletic design was comfortable to wear for a round of golf and the flat arm profile was ideal for wearing with caps. The polycarbonate frames are very lightweight even if they don't have as much of a quality feel as some other makes.

However, that is reflected in the price as the Sunwise Waterloo is good value at around £65 for a polarised transition lenses.

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