Best Golf Hats for Sun Protection 2018

I'm sure we can agree golf is fun! You know what's not fun? 

Skin cancer's not fun.

So you've come home again and you're burnt. What's worse than putting your head on the pillow to sleep and a fiery heat and pain scorches the side of your head? Nothing worse than burnt ears!

With the increased risk and of skin cancers as we get older, those long lazy days on the course take their toll without a hat. So many of my golf friends over 40 have had lesions cut out of their skin from overexposure to the sun playing golf.

For you and your family, it's best to wear something on that big dome of yours. This short guide will give you the most effective options to stop your skin turning into a leather handbag and protect you from the punishing UV rays.

Stick around for a while, skin cancer isn't fun but it is common with golfers

Been there, done that, got the hat

I've used every hat out there. I've tried the normal caps and visors. Golf caps still expose your neck and ears and aren't great for sun protection. Visors are a little more useless because there's a hole in the damn thing!

Best Golf Hats for Sun Protection

  1. DPC Outdoors Solarweave (best golf hat for sun protection alternative to Tilley)
  2. Coolibar Matchplay Golf Hat (best wide brim bucket hat)
  3. UnderArmour ArmourVent (best narrow brim bucket hat)
  4. Stetson Gambler Seagrass Outdoorsman (best cowboy hat)
  5. Sunday Afternoons Havana Hat (best Havana style hat)
  6. Aussie Chiller Outback Golf Hat (best soft cowboy hat)
  7. Ralph Lauren Bucket (my favorite golf hat)

What to keep in mind when getting a hat for golf

No hat is going to keep you from getting burnt completely. The best options are going to have wide brims and will be made of synthetic materials to keep you cool.

You want to avoid the caps and visors. Visors should be totally avoided if you're thinning up top like so many of us masculine men are. 

Also, use a golf hat in conjunction with a good sun cream. Biore Aqua Rich is the greatest sun cream I have ever owned and recommend it to everybody. 


Wide brim that clips into a cowboy style hat

The DPC Outdoors Solarweave Treated Cotton Hat is a winner on so many levels.

The fabric is certified 50+ UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) and with the mesh in the top, you'll feel that breeze blowing through and your sweat will evaporate quickly. The top is totally closed so don't worry about the sun coming through the top part.

A built in sweat band will stop your sweat rolling down into your eyes and helps keep the hat in place. For extra security, there is a cord to adjust the fit of the hat. 

Pros
  • Maximum sun protection 50+ UPF
  • Nylon mesh for super coolness
  • Much better price than most Tilley hats - the premium hat in this category
Cons
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    You need to handwash this, so don't just throw it in the machine - it'll go super floppy..

Firm wide brim for maximum sun protection

The bucket hat is always one of the best golf hats for sun protection because of the all-round brim. This Coolibar Matchplay hat has a 4" brim which makes it unbeatable for shading your whole neck and face. 

If you pop your golf shirt collar up, you have in impenetrable protection from the sun. It's like having an umbrella on our head. 

The hat can feel a little heavy and to be honest, doesn't look very 'slick' or 'professional' but if your main concern is sun protection, this is the best golf hat for sun protection.

Pros
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    Keeps sun off entire neck and face
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    Wide 4" brim for maximum coverage
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    Relatively cool 
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    Elastic cord to adjust the size so it stays on your head!
Cons
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    A little heavy 
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    Doesn't look very 'chic'
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    Brim is quite stiff so not great for travel

Lightweight and slightly narrower brim

Super cool hat that's very light and breathable. This is a multi purpose hat for golf, tennis, running and hiking. You can use this thing everywhere if you're a multidiscipline sportsman.

It's a one-size-fits all and stretches comfortably to fit any head. The ArmourVent is synthetic so when you're sweating your bag off, you won't have a hot head and a soaking wet hat. UnderArmour make top quality products an this hat is no different.

Pros
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    Rear brim is wider than the front
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    Built-in sweatband keeps seat away 
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    Relaxed brim with stretchy durable fabric
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    ​Can be used for short pitch and chip shots especially from rough
Cons
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    Nothing

Breathable and cool so your head doesn't get hot

My favorite hat for sun protection while playing golf is definitely a cowboy hat. I like to look like a maverick. The Stetson is a classic

The secret to a good cowboy hat is that is needs to be made of straw or synthetic materials. I've played in many kinds of cowboy hats but found the suede and leather types don't keep my head cool and get very stained by the sweat which doesn't evaporate quickly.

That's why straw or grass hats work best. Wind will blow through the small gaps and dry your head and keep you nice and cool. The brims have wire in them so you can also turn the sides up for a slightly more 'maverick' look.

Pros
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    Cool material that allows wind to come through
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    Looks very outlaw and always turns heads
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    Wire in the edge of the brim to customize the shape of the turns on the sides 
Cons
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    Not crushable or foldable
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    I often hit the brim on doors and windows

Designed for tough Aussies in the Outback

The Aussies are tough. They live out in the stick and work hard with their hands. They're in the sun all day and they need something to stop themselves becoming leather hand bags.

These hats from Aussie Chiller are perfect for golf and are foldable. I also stuff these into the side of the golf back and it pops back into place when I play after a hole or two.


Slick James Bond style golfing hat

The Havana and Fedora looks slick. While the brims are not as wide as the bucket hats or the hunting hats out there, the Sunday Afternoons Havana Hat still offers you great sun protection.

On top of looking like James Bond on the golf course, the hats are also crushable so you don't need to worry about your bag crushing the brim or the head part. 

I've used these hats countless times and even stuff them in the side pocket of my golf bag. 

Pros
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    Look suave, like an international man of mystery
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    Good sun protection
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    Very cooling and crushable and storable in the golf bag
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    Use it on your golf holiday away from the course
Cons
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    Not the best at redistributing sweat
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    You might be perceived as arrogant

My choice of golf hat

I like off-beat hats with floral designs or childish designs on them. Most people don't take me seriously on the course when they see my hats but once I hit a shot, they know I'm there to play.

Mix it up. Put your personality into how you dress on the course. I like narrower brimmed hats like the Ralph Lauren bucket and I like them bright. 

This hat can just be thrown into the bag, into the car and can be stuffed in your back pocket. 

Pros
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    Looks eye-catching
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    Good sun protection
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    Everyone is gonna know who you are at the course
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    Conversation piece
Cons
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    Needs a personality or a golf game to back it up otherwise no one takes you seriously
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    Too many women will be chasing you

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sun Cream

Without a doubt, THE BEST sun cream I've ever used is this one my girlfriend bought me in Japan. Now I live in Thailand and the sun is vicious out here. Since using this sun cream on my face and neck particularly, people don't believe I live in the tropics.

Hands-down my sun cream of choice. I apply it once before the round and keeps my complexion delightful for the full 18. It also softens out the skin and your missus will notice those wrinkles getting shallower.

The best part is that there is no oily residue after applying so you can apply it on the first tee and rip your drive down the middle without needing to wash your hands.

Conclusion

In the end the choice comes down to how you like to look on the course. When I feel regal, I wear the Havana. When I'm feeling like a crazy man, I wear the cowboy hat. But in general, I use narrow brimmed bucket hats like the Ralph Lauren Bucket hat. 

In general all of the hats above will be great for sun protection. I would strongly suggest avoiding caps and visors if you want sun protection. Your neck and ears are still too exposed leaving that opportunity for those little cancer spots so many of our buddies have cut out of their faces.

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