The Ideal Wide-brimmed Hat for Golf

El Limón Earlier this year, two older members of the Sunday Morning Group underwent Mohs surgery for squamous cell carcinoma—the second most common type of skin cancer. Their stitches and bandages made me think I needed a golf hat that provided better sun protection than a standard baseball-type cap. When I took up golf, in the early 1990s, I bought a semi-wide-brimmed bucket hat made by a company called Duckster (which apparently no longer exists). Here’s the only known photograph of me wearing it, on the Old Course at St. Andrews, in Scotland, in 1992:

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Shortly after that trip, I wore my Duckster hat during a round on my home course. Our superintendent, who was hand-watering a patch of brown grass near the fifth green, saw me, and said, “Where’d you buy that hat—Old Sturbridge Village?”, and I never wore it again. Quite a few years later, I bought a broad-brimmed hat made by Ahead (for the PGA’s golf-clothing line, which has since dropped it from its catalog). It worked fine, as sun protection, but I have a pumpkin-size head, and by the second or third hole I felt as though my brains were being squeezed, even though the size is supposedly “L/XL”:


Last week, I solved my problem once and for all by buying a Sombriolet Sun Hat, from Outdoor Research. It’s light and well-ventilated, and it’s available in true XL, which is big enough to accommodate even my head:

blue sombriolet

Outdoor Research is based in Seattle. It mainly sells stuff for hikers, backpackers, and kayakers, who apparently are much fussier about hat performance than golfers are. The company also makes my favorite rain hat, the Seattle Sombrero. Barney is modeling his own Seattle Sombrero in the photo below:


There are a few other sun-hat possibilities. Two years ago, my caddie at Streamsong, in Florida, wore a great-looking sun hat, although I neglected to ask him who had made it or find out whether Streamsong stocked it in the golf shop:


Orvis sells something sort of similar. Or you could buy a hat like the one we just gave Tony, who is about halfway through the process of losing all his real hair to chemotherapy: