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Shelta Hats - Unofficial Review

Grit Golf

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Are you worried about skin cancer, sun sickness, or heat exhaustion?

Are you in a committed relationship and looking for new ways to embarrass your significant other - or your dependants?

Outside of golf, do you have other outdoor hobbies like hunting, boating, fishing, hiking, assorted watersports, or hanging out at the shooting range?

If you answered yes to any of these questions - The Shelta Hats brand is perfect for you!


What Makes Shelta Hats Different

Shelta is a Carlsbad, California based headwear company specializing in what most golfers would call "bucket" or "boonie" type hats. While the Carlsbad locale lends serious golf cred, the company was founded by a paddle surfer, and has its roots on the waters of Southern California. San Diego area beaches are HOT, and it's inhabitants are environmentally and health-conscious - so it should be no surprise that all Shelta hats are designed with 100% recycled UPF 50+ materials (the highest clothing rating for protection form the sun). So far so good, but there are a few other hat companies (like Tilley) able to make many of those same claims, so what makes Shelta different?



The biggest differentiator for Shelta applies to all of their hats (at time of writing there are four models); their patent-pending "no flop brim"! Check out the video on their site/youtube - the no-flop brim is a cool, made in the US technology, but does it actually work?

To Flop or not to Flop?

The short answer: Shelta Hats do not flop - and I'm not talking about high-risk wedge shots (pardon the Dad joke)! So why should you, as a golfer, care? If you are zipping around in a golf cart with the windscreen down on a nice day, the Shelta brim makes the hat much, much easier to live with. Our local course (shout out to Ellsworth Meadows) invested in single-rider, 2 wheel golf carts (Finn Scooters), these carts are a BLAST - but they were blowing fitted ball caps off riders on the day I tested. Fortunately for me, the Shelta hat was un-phased. In my testing, the Shelta hats are immune to windy conditions. I've had ball caps pop off during aggressive swings, and found that the Shelta hat stayed planted and completely out of my awareness during my swing, which is where you want your headwear to be on the course.

Another Unseen Benefit

Another advantage of the semi-rigid no-flop brim is that it keeps the brim almost completely out of your visual field. It also keeps the brim clear of sunglasses, which is a big plus for me. These hats were designed to work well with sunglasses or other eyewear, and the Shelta site is full of images of attractive outdoor enthusiasts rocking a variety of shades. In my experience, it is these kinds of functional details that make the hat feel well thought-out and well designed.

The Dork Cord!

Like a traditional boonie hat, all Shelta hats have a retention cord - disaffectionately coined the "dork cord" by [mention=71159]Dr Strangelove[/mention] in [mention=86214]viking[/mention]'s Best Hat forum post. While that chin cord does take the style of the hat to a new level of nerdy, I found it to be damn helpful while cruising around in the Finn cart (I wore it in the "standard" configuration - see below). Shelta knows that the retention cord isn't for everyone, or for all activities, and they give the wearer unique options for how to set up the hat:


Crown Tech & Storage

If you hate the dork cord, or don't need it for your day's activities, Shelta Hats also have storage in the crown of the hat where the cord can be removed and stashed for quick retrieval later. The way that the storage compartment works depends on which model hat you have, but in my experience with the Seahawk - the storage was easy to use and like everything else about the hat, it just worked. I found the rest of the crown of the Seahawk to have the same high attention-to-detail in design and construction. I currently have a mop of hair due to Corona salon closures, and the vapor barrier tech was more comfortable in the heat than a traditional 6 panel non-mesh ball cap. The eyelets on the Seahawk also had extra metal mesh to prevent critters from jumping on board, while aiding the hats ability to exchange air with the ambient.

The Seahawk Model

I went with the Seahawk, which Shelta describes as being an "on the water" design with a medium brim. My rationale was that this could be my golf, shooting, and beach hat. The medium brim offers loads mores sun protection than a ball cap. I also liked the style. To me, the boonie style crown on the Seahawk and Osprey edges slightly into "tacticool" without going full "flip floperator". My thinking was, if I'm going to wear a slightly nerdy style hat, I'd rather it lend some military cachet than a "Happy Gilmore Jackass Guy" vibe. In short, the style of the Seahawk worked for me. I went with plain khaki, but I could see some of my friends going with one of the camo patterns or blaze orange (Go Browns!). With that said, there's no accounting for taste, and my wife reminds me constantly of how bad my taste is, so your mileage may vary. 

The Bottom Line

At $70, Shelta hats are not cheap (compared to a baseball cap), but they are definitely cheaper than other premium sun hats (again, see Tilley). They offer MUCH more truly functional tech than a basic sun hat, making them an absolute bargain in my opinion at the price point. I'm head over heels with the Shelta Seahawk, which not-so coincidentally is their best selling hat. As long as you're not actively trying to acquire a mate - Shelta Hats are the best golf hat for sun protection in any imaginable condition.


Another shout out to [mention=86214]viking[/mention] and his best golf hat post. Yet another shout out to the community and the many positive comments that pointed me to Shelta and the Seahawk specifically. I had previously not heard of Shelta, and I'm super glad I know about them now - this is what makes MyGolfSpy awesome!


Edited by Grit Golf
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“He’s a Cinderella story. A former assistant groundskeeper about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac… It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!” — Carl Spackler

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  • 1 year later...

I've had a Shelta Seahawk in Khaki (below right) for years, IME nothing better (including Tilley, I've owned two) for golf, boating-sailing-kayaking-paddleboarding or any activity where there might be some breeze. It has held up so well, I just ordered another Shelta, this time a slightly wider brim Condor in Light Silver (below left, almost white) - just to have another color choice. The "no flop" brim is what makes this hat better than anything else - but it has every other feature I'd want as well. As much as I like my traditional golf hats with front only brims, might as well do all I can to protect my face, ears, neck before I have a nasty surprise from a dermatologist. One of my sailing buddies had a melanoma on his face, it's no joke, and he's a doctor (retired ortho). YMMV


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