Cancer Council NSW is aiming to raise awareness and educate golfers on the importance of sun protection through their ‘Improve Your Long Game’ program. Their goal is to connect to golfers of all ages to educate and drive peer to peer conversation around sun protection.

Golfers are exposed to some of the harshest sun conditions, as they spend long periods of time outside with limited access to shade. When compared to sports such as cricket, where players can be exposed to UV rays but are sporting wide brimmed hats, wraparound sunnies and zinc, the emphasis on sun protection in the golfing community is lacking tremendously.

Here are the facts:

  • Men over the age of 40 are 1.5 times more likely to develop melanomas and are nearly twice as likely to die from it. Many golfers between the ages of 40 and 65 think it’s too late to make a difference, particularly if they haven’t practiced sun safety during their early years. However, protecting your skin at any age will reduce your risk of skin cancer.
  • Melanoma can occur anywhere in the body, however for men, it’s more common in the trunk and for women it’s in the legs. Wearing long sleeved shirts and pants or protective sun sleeves is a great way to protect these areas from the harsh sun.
  • UV radiation causes 95% of melanomas and 99% of skin cancers. Surfaces on golf courses such as grass, sand and water reflect these UV rays, intensifying the level of exposure to golfers. Wearing a wide brimmed hat designed for golf is an excellent way to protect your ears, neck and face from these harsh rays.
  • Clouds are more likely to be blocking light than UV rays, so even on gloomy and overcast days, it’s important to seek shade while on the golf course. Keep a golf umbrella or hands-free umbrella with you on the course to shelter yourself from the sun.
  • A dry touch/active sunscreen will protect without creating a greasy grip. Apply a golf ball sized amount to all exposed skin at least 20 minutes before exposure and then reapply every two hours after that.

Here are some simple steps you can introduce if you haven’t already:

  • Wear protective clothing: long sleeved shirts, trousers and hats are great solutions to ensure your body is covered and protected from the rays.
  • Invest in a golf umbrella, you can get some great clip ones that allow you to be hands free.
  • Remember to pack a high SPF30+ sunscreen and apply it liberally.

For more information be sure to visit Cancer Council NSW and discuss this with your friends the next time you tee up.