Best Golf Hats Sun Protection

You may have noticed that your favorite golfer often plays in a hat. It may come as a surprise to you, but players started wearing branded hats because the appliance manufacturer, Amana, started offering PGA Tour players $50 per player to wear a cap with their logo placed on the front during a four-day tournament. However, now that we are all fully aware of the damaging impacts of long-term sun exposure, it’s a good idea to wear it for practical reasons - rather than just to parade your favorite brand!

There’s nothing worse than setting out to play a relaxing day of golf in the sun, only to return home sunburned and sick from the heat. Nobody likes sunburn or heat stroke, which is why it’s essential that you wear a sun hat when playing. Not only this, but a round of golf is often played when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest, typically between 11.00 am-3.00 pm, from April through to September.

While the immediate impacts of sunburn can be uncomfortable - sore, red skin, dizziness, and even sickness - the long term risks are even worse. Sunburn accelerates the rate at which your skin ages, and is the leading cause of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer. 90% of skin cancers are directly linked to UV exposure. Not only this, but the older we get, the more vulnerable we are to developing skin cancer, which is why older golfers must pay particular attention to sun exposure when spending the day on the course.

A simple solution to the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays is a sun hat. A sun hat keeps your head cool and your face shaded, and reduces
your chances of sunburn or illness. There are a variety of purpose-built, comfortable, and discrete (or not!) golfer hats out there to keep you cool on the course.

No need to get overwhelmed by the choice, either - as we’ve put together a list of our top golf hats for sun protection, complete with a handy Buyer’s Guide and Frequently Asked Questions section so that you can make the best decision for your needs, and, most importantly, pick a hat that both looks and feels great. Though sadly, we won't be paying you fifty bucks to wear it!

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Best Golf Sun Hats Protection - Reviews

This hat tops our list for several reasons. Not only is it a super low price point, but it’s actually extremely versatile and is suitable for both men and women, thanks to its one-size-fits-most style and rear adjustable elastic drawstring design. It’s also available in a range of colors, which is an added bonus. Though for maximum sun protection, go for darker colors, as these have been proven to absorb UV rays better.

The wide brim of this hat (3.7-3.9inches) keeps your face and neck protected from harmful UV rays, while the water repellent polyester makes it resilient towards sudden rain showers too.

The adjustable chin cord holds the hat in place on windy days and can be adjusted for your comfort. This hat is perfect for golfing on warmer days too, thanks to the built-in sweatband that removes sweat from your eyes and face. The two-sided mesh vent keeps your head cool and comfortable so you can focus on your game.

This hat is perfect for golfing weekends away too, thanks to its lightweight material, which means it can be easily folded in half and packed in your bag. 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Unisex, one-size-fits-most
  • Wide brim, offers protection for face and neck
  • Mesh vent
  • Built-in sweatband
  • Lightweight and packable

Cons

  • This hat has a crease in it for folding - but it’s not to everyone’s taste

This polyester bucket hat from Mission has a cooling effect thanks to its water-activated technology, which cools it to 30 degrees below average body temperature in under 30 seconds. Simply wet it, wring it out and wave it. The hat will then keep cool for up to 2 hours so that you can comfortably stay active longer.

The lightweight fabric and soft structure of this hat make it easy to fold for packing or sticking in your bag or back pocket. Despite its flexibility, this hat also has plenty of structure, as the brim is reinforced with quilted stitching so that it does not flop down on your face.

For optimum comfort and added versatility, there is an adjustable elastic cord chin strap, and brass pin snaps on either side to pin the brim up. Another great feature of this hat is that its machine washable for easy, frequent cleaning. 

Pros

  • Unique, water-activated cooling system
  • Machine washable
  • Foldable for easy packing
  • Reinforced brim for structure
  • Elastic strap and pin snaps 

Cons

  • Some people complain that the strap is poor quality

Made of 75% cotton, this sun hat is made of a lightweight fabric with UPF 50+. The ‘Solarweave’ fabric has also been tested and proven to protect against harmful UV rays, even after 100 hours of accelerated exposure.

Coolmax technology helps keep you dry while you’re playing, and the elasticized Coolmax sweatband keeps sweat at bay, so your face won’t get sweaty. This hat also has a breathable mesh panel and adjustable chin strap for ultimate comfort. 

While most hats of this type come in a one-size-fits-all style (when let’s face it, it doesn’t!) - this DPC one comes in sizes medium to xx-large. It also comes in multiple colors.

Pros

  • UPF 50+
  • Coolmax technology and mesh panel for cooling effect
  • Elasticized sweat band
  • Adjustable chin strap
  • Multiple sizes

Cons

  • Not foldable

This golfing hat from Coolibar has a 4" brim meaning it keeps your whole neck and face shaded. The UPF 50+ fabric promises to block 98% of UV radiation, while the Lite™ fabric has an ultra-soft, cotton-like feel which is lightweight, breathable, and also dries quickly.

This hat is available in a range of sizes but also has an elastic drawcord at the back for an adjustable and tailored fit. The lightweight foam brim provides structure without feeling stiff and rigid. This hat can’t be machine washed but can be hand-washed and line dried and will retain its sun-blocking properties regardless of how many times you wash it. 

Pros

  • 4” brim for ultimate coverage
  • UPF 50+ - blocks 98% of UV rays
  • Lightweight, cotton-feel fabric
  • Available in a range of sizes
  • Adjustable elastic drawcord

Cons

  • Can’t be machine washed

If you’re looking for a hat with a smaller brim, the Callaway 2016 could be the perfect bucket hat for you. It’s compact, sleek, and smart-looking, and is ideal not just for golf but for other sports too, so it’s perfect if you’re a multi-disciplined sportsman.

This hat is functional too, as well as attractive-looking, and it does a great job of providing protection against 50+ UV rays. The synthetic fabric is breathable and moisture-wicking, and the built-in sweatband keeps your face cool and dry. The smaller, flexible brim of this hat makes it incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear. 

Pros

  • Smaller, flexible brim making it ideal for other sports
  • Great design 
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Built-in sweatband
  • 50+ UV protection

Cons

  • Some people say this hat runs small 

Best Golf Hats Sun Protection - Buyers Guide

UV Protection

Exposure to UltraViolet (UV) rays can cause long-term damage and skin cancer. However, one thing to bear in mind is that not all “sun” hats actually protect you from the sun. Hats can keep your head and hair cool, however, they will rarely actually provide sufficient protection when the UV level is 3 or higher. That’s why you need to specifically look for a hat that has a high UPF rating.

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and is used to measure the effectiveness of sun protection fabrics. The effectiveness of these fabrics is usually tested by spectrophotometer equipment rather than human subjects. The UPF rate indicates how much of the sun's UV radiation is absorbed by the fabric.

The higher the UPF rating, the higher the protection it gives. A UPF rating of 40-50+ means that approximately 97.5% - 98.0% of UV rays will be blocked, indicating that the fabric is highly effective and gives excellent UV protection. A UPF rating of 50+ is necessary for long days of golfing in the sun.

Hat Type 

Not all hats provide the same level of sun protection. For example, even though baseball caps and visors are frequently worn by golfers and sports enthusiasts, these were originally worn for marketing purposes and do not protect players well from the sun. Caps and visors provide very limited protection from UV rays, as they leave much of your neck, face, and ears exposed to the heat and sun. A broad-brimmed hat provides the most protection to your face, neck, and ears and is definitely the wisest choice for golfers.

Fabric

Again, while any hat is better than no hat at all, the protection provided by a hat largely depends on the fabric it is made from. Choose a hat that blocks solar UVR and has a high UPF rating, so that the hat blocks and absorbs UV rays. Consider any hats with mesh panels or holes - check these have another layer underneath so that they don’t leave you exposed. You should also take into consideration how effectively the fabric absorbs sweat, and how lightweight it is too. Cotton hats can provide a cooling effect yet still absorb UV rays better than mesh, whereas synthetic fabrics can be good for moisture-wicking.


Sizing 

If you have a particularly large - or small - head, pay particular attention to the sizing. Many hats are a one size fits all and while this can make them appealing to men and women, they may not fit well, because - yep you guessed it - one size never fits all. Similarly, some manufacturers make their sizes on the smaller or larger side, so it’s a good idea to refer to our above reviews - or check out customer feedback - to see if there’s any you should be wary of. It’s always a good idea to have a hat that is not too tight, as this will be uncomfortable, but you also don’t want one that is going to fall off or slip into your eyes, either. Hats with an adjustable drawstring can be especially good for combatting this issue, and many golfing hats have these.


Moisture-wicking ability 

A moisture-wicking fabric quickly moves sweat to the fabric’s outer surface and dries the fabric rapidly so that your sweat doesn’t saturate the fabric. The result is that you’re more comfortable because your body can regulate its temperature efficiently and the fabric touching your skin does not feel soaked and hot. Most hats - particularly those designed for the outdoors or for sports - have moisture-wicking fabric, and many have built-in sweatbands to control sweat from dripping down the face. Moisture-wicking fabrics are usually synthetic, whereas cotton becomes saturated with sweat, making you feel cool and clammy. Mesh is usually lightweight and breathable - just be wary to check that the fabric has a high UVF too.

Foldability 

If you like to go away golfing at the weekends, it’s a good idea to look for a hat that is lightweight and foldable. Some hats have stiffer brims making them difficult to travel with (unless you wear it!), so look for something that has a looser and more flexible brim if you plan on packing it in a bag or suitcase.

Water-resistance

You might think it’s strange to be talking about water-resistance in the same article as sun protection. However, we all know that the weather can be unpredictable, and nobody likes getting caught on the course in the rain. That’s why it’s great to look for a hat that is versatile and can be worn in all conditions. A water-resistant or water-repellent hat will keep your head dry in sudden downpours.

Quality

While there are some great affordable sun protection hats out there, available at a lower price point, some of these may not be as well made as other more expensive versions, and as a result, the fabric may not offer the UV protection that it claims to. Look for a hat that has a certified UVF rating from a trusted seller so you can buy with reassurance. That doesn’t mean you have to break the bank though, there are plenty of options out there that are affordable and don’t compromise on quality.


Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the best hats for sun protection? 

The best hats for sun protection are usually those with a wide brim that provides shade for your neck, ears, forehead, and as much of your face as possible. Generally, baseball caps and visors won’t be effective at this, even though they provide some protection, they still leave many areas exposed to the sun.

What is the best color for a sun hat? 

Scientists have found that fabrics with darker or more intense colors have better UV radiation protection than lighter colors. A study carried out in Spain back in 2009 found that, of all the colors tested, dark blue offered the best levels of UV protection. In contrast, white and yellow were declared the worst-performing colors for protection from the sun.

Is it necessary to wear a hat while playing golf? 

You should wear a sun hat if you are spending prolonged periods in the sun. If you’re playing golf in the sun, not only can you get sunburnt which may result in immediate side effects like painful, red skin and headaches or sickness, but it can have serious long term risks, such as skin cancer, which is why you should always take precautions to protect against the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. Anybody can develop skin cancer, but if you burn easily, you are especially susceptible and should always wear a hat when playing outdoors.

What else can I do to protect myself from the sun? 

As well as wearing a sun hat, you can also wear a high factor sunscreen, such as one with SPF 50+. It’s also important to stay hydrated in the sun, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. You may also want to wear sunglasses and take regular breaks. Golf courses rarely provide adequate shade, but if possible, always seek shade now and again throughout the day. 

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