Fact Checked

What Is a Golf Mirror?

Alex Newth
Alex Newth

A golf mirror is a periscope used by spectators to watch the action at crowded golf matches and tournaments. These devices allow the user to look over the crowd to see the golfer swing. The amount of magnification varies from golf mirror to golf mirror, but usually ranges between four and 10 times normal; some mirrors have fixed magnification, while others can be adjusted. In the past, golf periscopes were large and bulky, but modern versions are slim and lightweight, so they can be carried easily. The device's case is usually made of aluminum, which makes it durable but lightweight.

A person using a golf mirror holds the device — typically a long tube with an eyepiece on the bottom and a mirror on the top — to his eye, and the mirror relays a reflection that lets the user see above and beyond the crowd. This works by using periscope technology similar to that used on submarines. The user looks into the front lens and, thanks to a series of other glass lenses, he or she is able to see through the top of the scope, enhancing the user’s angle and vision. Five lenses commonly are used for optimal vision.

A person playing golf.
A person playing golf.

Depending on the strength and size of the glass lenses, the amount of vision magnification may differ. Most golf mirrors start with a minimum magnification of four times normal, while high-end versions can magnify up to 10 times normal. Some units have a fixed magnification, meaning the user cannot change it, while others are adjustable.

Along with adjustable magnification, the top part of the periscope is often adjustable. This is the area through which the spectator sees, and raising this piece allows the spectator to see higher than before. This will help if there is a tall crowd or the proper angle is necessary to see the game.

A golf course.
A golf course.

The first golf mirror devices were large, bulky and wide enough to fill the entire hand. Modern versions of the golf mirror are slender, about the width of a small pipe, making them much easier to hold and less awkward looking. The smaller size also means fewer materials, making the mirror lightweight and easier for spectators to hold while watching a golf match.

Golf mirror bodies are typically made of metal, usually aluminum, to keep the device safe. This means a dropped device should not break unless someone steps on it and, even then, it should be fine. While the body is durable, the glass lenses can break if dropped, so spectators should still be careful.

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Discussion Comments

@jmc88 - You are absolutely correct, and they best thing about them is that they are easy to create, all one needs it two mirrors and a long tube.

The metal ones seem to cost a little bit of money and as long as someone does not want to keep one as a keepsake or souvenir from the tournament, they can make their own for a cheap price.

I have made my own in the past and they are really easy to make as one could even use a paper towel roll if they can find a mirror small enough.

I do have to say though I do not know the going rate on these types of durable, metal devices and I was wondering if anyone would know that has been to more tournaments than I have?


@stl156 - I will say that is quite a unique story and those golf mirrors probably mean a lot to them.

As far as their practicality goes, these devices prove that nothing beat simplicity as these devices have the most simple design one could conjure up and still be effective to the point there is no design better for what it does.

Being in a crowd I can say that these golf mirrors help so much in seeing the action and they do not stick above people's heads enough that they become a problem for people behind.

One thing that is neat too is to see how many people actually use these at the tournaments they watch as it can be a pretty unique sight to see.


@JimmyT - You are correct as I have seen many people collect these that like the game of golf.

A lot of times when people are looking to collect these they are looking to buy some from specific tournaments that are famous in the history of golf.

I read a story recently that at the United States Open in 2012 there were people that brought the golf mirrors they bought in the 1960's when the tournament first came there and have gotten players, and all the winners, to sign them at one point or another.

Of course they do not look to get their autographs to sell these, but rather collect them as keepsakes to show that they were in the audience and managed to follow all the winners of the tournament and that is worth more than money to them.


I have to say that a golf mirror is not the best way to describe one of these devices as there are other things out there that pertain to someone's golf swing, which are also called golf mirrors.

Anyway, I have been to many golf tournaments and I can really say that it is a real pain to try and see anything if someone is following a group that has a lot of people following it.

Most of the time this occurs with the front runners in the tournament and these devices make it a great way for someone to be able to see the action without losing their spot in the crowd.

I know that they have sold these devices at tournaments since the 1960's and they have actually begun to be a very valuable collectors item that some people will pay top dollar for.

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