Oakley's-The lowdown

Oakley sunglasses are the coolest thing to be seen in on the course

Martin Park
Mon, 13 Mar 2000

Everybody is wearing them, but if you walked around the high street in a pair of them, you might get some weird looks from passers by. But on the golf course, they are the coolest things to be seen in and apparently, they help your game too!

The mirrored wraparound sunglasses worn by former World number David Duval and ladies number one Annika Sorenstam are the latest addition to lowering your scores on the course
We asked Louis Wellen, Director of Sports Marketing for Oakley if the mirrored shades are all they are cracked up to be.

So tell us why so many golfers are wearing the shades now…“One benefit is the health aspects, these guys spend seven or eight hours out here in the sun and we provide a product which protects their eyes from all the damaging things that the sun can throw at it.

We have expanded our line to golf specific products, meaning we have developed lenses that have been specifically designed for golf.

What kind of lenses do you supply to the Pros?

We have lenses that enhance the colour green, which helps players pick up the undulations in the fairways and the grain of the green, such as our new lens, the G30. Nick Faldo is currently using this one in Europe because the sunlight over here is a little different!

We have another lens tint called the Slate Iridium which is probably the most popular lens among the Professionals and we have a couple of different styles of frames for comfort sizing and fit. That is the lens that Duval uses.

So why wear them, to look good?

A few of our players are wearing our product because they wear contact lenses, and the wind and dust get into players contact lenses, so they are covering their eyes up with the Oakley's to protect themselves from all the elements.
We are not out here to try to make these guys look cool, the glasses truly enhance their vision with the lens choice that we give them.
Nothing else, just the health choice of protecting their eyes, it should be a no brain decision to use them.

How does it help your performance on the course?

After you have been out in the sun for four or five hours and you are coming down the stretch, if you did not have sunglasses on, your eyes would fatigue and body and brain would fatigue as well. But because you are wearing glasses, your mind is going to be much more relaxed and it could be the difference between winning and losing.

Is this going to be the next big thing in golf?

We have a lot of players using our product right now and I would say within the next couple of years, sunglasses on Professional golfers is going to be as common as a glove or a putter.
The way we look at it, glasses are as important as a driver or an L-Wedge. They are becoming an essential piece of kit.

Who is your main competition?

There are a couple of companies out there, Bolle are popular too and Callaway have teamed up with Ray Ban. But we welcome any competitor, the more we have, the sharper we are going to be and the better products we are going to make if the competition is sharp, it is going to make us make better products.

How long have you be working the golf tours?

It has taken about five or six years to make golf a staple part of our business. Myself and some other Oakley staff promote the golf, we work as a team, and within the next couple of years, you will see 80% of the field playing in our lenses.
Right now, we have the number one players in the world wearing them, David Duval and Annika Sorenstam.

On the women’s side, we have six of the top ten in the world wearing them; Annika and David almost live in them. It is a product that when you wear for a while and you get used to it, it is very difficult to go without.

What is your latest line for golf?

We have the Pro ‘M’ Frame, that is the most popular among the players, and the ‘Zero’ and between those two, that covers the field.

Do you pay any of the players to wear them?

No. Players like David and Annika receive a performance related bonus if they win and get a lot of coverage on the TV, but we do not pay them to wear the glasses, that is their choice.

So with Duval’s performances earlier last year, you must have been worried about the bank balance!

No. We just hope he keeps winning, that’s good for the business!

For further information on the Oakley line of glasses, contact Louis Wellen on 001 949 829 6150