Shades that will help you follow your golf ball in flight
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TripSavvy / Nicholas McClelland
Superior lens quality
Rugged and versatile construction
On the expensive side
Not flattering on every face
Does not make it easier to see your ball in the long grass
The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Golf Sunglasses are great on the course but don’t transition to life beyond golf.
We purchased the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Golf Sunglasses so our reviewer could thoroughly test and assess them. Keep reading for our full product review.
The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Golf Sunglasses features the company’s proprietary lens technology built on years of color science research. The golf iteration offers players an ideal level of contrast and color control that helps them follow a golf ball through the air more easily at long distances. Paired with lightweight, flexible yet rugged frames, the Flak 2.0 XL is a solid option for a golf-specific pair of lenses. I wore a pair to the course to see if the shades performed as promised.
The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses are available with standard, photochromic, and Prizm (either polarized or Iridium) lenses. Prizm essentially means high-definition clarity and contrast. I tested a pair of Prizm lenses with Iridium, a proprietary, scratch-resistant coating that minimizes glare. Oakley offers glasses specifically designed for different settings: the field, the road, the trail, and in my case, the golf course.
The tuned colors and enhanced visibility kept me from losing the white ball against the clouds or as it landed near the tree line.
The Prizm golf shades I tested feature 100 percent UV protection and 30 percent visible light transmission (VLT)—a measure of the amount of light that passes through to the eyes—meaning they are fit for what Oakley calls “medium-light” conditions. This same style can also be purchased with Prizm Dark Golf, with a 22 percent VLT that’s appropriate for use in medium light. The high-definition optics (HDO) exceed the testing standards of the American National Standards Institute.
Made of lightweight plastic (Oakley calls it “O Matter”), the frames are said to be virtually indestructible, and they felt almost unnoticeable on my face compared to my daily aviators. Unobtainium, or grippy rubber on the stems and nose pads, ensures the glasses won’t slip during a swing, whether your face is dry or dripping with sweat—a feature I found superlative when playing rounds in New Jersey’s summer heat.
From tee to green, I found that shots hit in the air were much easier to follow down the fairway thanks to the contrast provided by the lenses. The tuned colors and enhanced visibility kept me from losing the white ball against the clouds or as it landed near the tree line (we’re talking more than 250 yards away!).
Having a more dialed-in idea of where my ball (and my playing partners’ ball) finished meant I wasted less time searching for my ball. After all, there is no worse feeling in golf than losing a ball that you know was in play. Even if you’re averaging one to two minutes per hole looking for a ball you sort of saw off the tee, that’s 18 to 36 minutes over 18 holes.
If you play as much golf as I do, investing in Oakley’s Prizm lenses makes sense.
But like most sunglasses, the Flak 2.0 XL Prizms actually made it more difficult to find the ball in the rough. So when I got close to where my ball finished, removing the glasses made the ball more visible. The same is true for reading greens. When on the putting surface, I found it much easier to determine grain and slope with my naked eyes.
On cloudless days, I found my eyes wanting a darker lens and would switch to a pair of polarized Ray-Bans that block more light. Under cloud cover or overcast skies, the Flak 2.0 XL Prizms work quite nicely and my eyes felt comfortable.
The scratch-resistant lenses are exceptionally durable. Over the course of three rounds, I dropped them several times and kept them inside a pocket in my golf bag, and there is no visible damage. In fact, they still look new. Though if you do put a gash in them or back over them with a golf cart, the Oakley does sell replacement lenses for $50.
The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Golf Sunglasses do not look great on everyone. The glasses offer an aesthetic more suited for a SWAT team training ground than a golf course. But thankfully, the links are typically a place where you can march to the beat of your own fashion drum. That said, I certainly would not wear the Flak 2.0 XL Prizm off the link. If you prefer a more classic-looking frame, Oakley does offer its Golf Prizm lenses in the Targetline and Mainlink frames, which might be more your speed.
The Iridium Prizm lenses are second to none for helping players watch their golf ball fly.
The 59-millimeter-wide lens is substantial without feeling too big, though the 37-millimeter height of the lenses is too small for larger faces like mine. The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Golf Sunglasses only come in one color—black with a golf-specific “rose” lens that really reads as purple. Note that you can customize a pair on the Oakley site (there’s even the option of prescription lenses).
Inside the box, Oakley includes a “Sport Soft Vault Case” to protect your investment, as well as a “micro bag” to store your specs and wipe down any smudges or sweat drops. As with all optics, you’ll want to keep your lenses clean in order to see clearly. Use the micro bag to wipe them off a few times during the round.
I stored mine in my golf bag’s valuables pocket for a few weeks with no issues, and I’ve even checked a previous pair of Prizms on international flights with no damage. Oakley also provides a spare pair of nose pads for when you wear them out.
Retailing at $176, these glasses are a little pricey for something you’re likely only going to use on the course. But the Prizm lenses are the gold standard for golf, and if you have any difficulty seeing where your ball is going, they do help.
While several other brands like Nike and Under Armour make golf-specific sunglasses, mostly Oakley is competing with itself thanks to its unrivaled lens quality. I also tested the TOREGE Guardian Spirit Polarized Sport Sunglasses, and though they were a bit less comfortable and simply designed, they performed pretty well, especially considering the extremely low price point of under $30. Your choice will depend on how often you’ll wear them and how much you want to spend.
If you play as much golf as I do, investing in the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Prizm Golf Sunglasses makes sense, as being able to see the ball clearly saves a substantial amount of time during a round. However, if you don’t love the style, consider choosing a different frame containing the Prizm lenses.
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