With the piercing cold starting to settle in, I find myself avoiding the outside, and in-turn - golf. Bit of a fair weather golfer!
However - despite the slowdown in the amount of rounds I’m carding - I still find excuses to purchase extravagant (albeit unnecessary) bits of kit for my club bag. I'm going to go through a new pair of Oakley Half Jacket XLJ Golf Array sunglasses I've recently bought, and a brief mention of the new Odyssey Backstryke putter that I had the fortune of borrowing from my Dad a few weeks ago for a round.
So - first up. The sunglasses. I've always been a fan of Oakley sunglasses. Picked up my first pair really cheap at a military base I lived at in Germany, and have worn them lovingly ever since. Last year I made the swap to half jackets, the reason being that the lenses can be popped out in 30 seconds and swapped out for new ones - this flexibility allows you to change the entire style and function of your glasses with ease. Anyway - I digress.
The glasses come in a nice fiber cloth drawstring bag that doubles up as your cleaning cloth. Normally with sunglasses, I'm not too fussed with cleaning the odd smudge off the lenses, but with top quality ones such as those found in these, it really makes the difference. Mine are the black frame sort, which in my opinion are the easiest to match with any colour of frame without them looking too garish on the golf course. As these are the Golf Array glasses, you get 3 separate pairs of lenses, each suited to various light conditions.
All 3 provide a coating to remove glare - I find this excellent on sunny days when you're tracking a ball in flight, or simply near a water hazard that is reflecting a lot of light back up at you. The different lenses aren't just coloured for stylistic purposes though! The Fire lenses are best suited for medium/bright days and improve your visual acuity to pick out the ball easier. The G30s increase light on darker, cloudy days, and are brilliant for spotting your ball in deep rough as the ball is lifted more from its surroundings. Finally - the Slate lenses are the more traditional darker lenses for average bright days.
The glasses sit very well, and you tend to not realise you're wearing them - this is fantastic news for them drawn out days of a full 18 holes, where traditional glasses tend to pinch over the hours. The build quality is as expected for the price (RRP £140) - this being a very sturdy, high polished and stylish build. You won't be dropping these and finding them in bits - they're quite strong.
So the final verdict - if you've got the money to splurge with, and you want a decent pair of sunglasses for golf, and also general use - I'd go with a decent set of Oakleys. The half-jackets have a sporty/modern look to them, and the pop out lenses mean you can just buy extra lenses and pop them in/out. I find the golf-specific lenses brilliant for upping your visual clarity on the course, and help you follow your shots a lot easier (handy if you're slicing them a lot like myself!).
Finally, a quick mention of the new Odyssey Backstryke putter. I borrowed this for a round of 18 and couldn't believe what it did to my short game. Its revolutionary design brings the joining of the shaft to the back (relative to your swing) of the oversized head. At first it feels like you're making chip shots with the ball, but then you realise that this action provides a much more consistent swing and follow-through, providing you with more steady and accurate putts. There's not really much more to say than, if you get the opportunity - try it! It's definitely at the top of my Christmas list this year!