Protection From the Sun: Golf Hats

By: James Sherard

On any given Sunday you'll see more and more people heading to their local golf course to partake in what has evolved into one of the most popular sports in the world. No longer a game played exclusively by the nouveau rich, this relaxing, albeit sometimes frustrating sport, is now being played by people of all ages and various walks of life.

With countless number of quality courses increasing throughout the country yearly, and state of the art golf clubs and accessories readily available for the novice or wannabe Tiger Woods, golf is now more accessible then ever before. But before you tee off with that new driver, or reach for your nine iron, make sure you take proper precautions against the golfer's deadliest foe: the sun.

Consider that a round of golf can take anywhere from four to six hours to complete, often played between 10am and 4pm when the sun's ultraviolet rays are the strongest, thus greatly increasing the risk of developing skin cancer.

In addition to the liberal dose of sunscreen that you hopefully always apply prior to teeing off, one of the most important preventive measures you can take, (and most stylish) is to wear the proper hat.

Golf pros around the globe agree that sun protection hats offer a competitive edge over players who struggle in the heat without adequate safeguards against the sun's damaging UV rays. PGA tour pro Briny Abaird frequently dons one of the broad-brimmed variety, providing extensive protection to his face and neck, freeing him up for more important matters, like sinking that next chip shot.

Other golf legends such as Sam Snead and Greg Norman also popularized the wearing of wide brimmed lightweight hats while on the course. Greg Norman, who grew up in the sun drenched region of Northern Australia, often wore the typical surfers wide brimmed straw hat that encircles the entire head, including the back of the neck. While playing professionally he was able to keep his eyes focused on the ball at all times, shielded from blinding bursts of sunlight that often plague many golfers.

So what to look for in a golf hat?....Basically you want a hat that is constructed of a lightweight yet durable weave that offers ample ventilation. Suede with cut-away mesh features, or tightly woven mesh hats are a prime example.

Choose a hat that provides shade for the entire head, and as much of the neck as possible. Wide or medium sized brimmed hats also provide much more protection for the face, ears, and neck than common baseball caps, and are suitable for those who play often under sunny conditions.


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