Improve your long game & get sun smart on the golf course

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It’s about time Australian golfers got sun smarter and reduce the risk of melanoma.

I have a good golfing mate who is considered a “must-have” for every golf trip. His passion for the game is unmatched by any other despite finding it difficult to get out on the golf course as much he would like.

Without intrusion he will be the first to commend you on your good shots, the first to help look for your golf ball and somehow he knows your score before you do. It’s hard not to get swept up in his passion for the game but there is one other reason he is a welcome playing partner.

Without fail, and no matter what the weather, he will reapply sunscreen after nine holes. And while he does so, he makes sure everyone else does the same.

It’s not pushy, or guilt-ridden but more of a gentle nudge in the direction away from skin cancer.

It’s our very own personal reminder to Slip! Slop! Slap! Seek! and Slide!

Unfortunately I don’t see this sort of skin protection awareness on the golf course much anymore. The need for sun protection for a day on the golf course hasn’t infiltrated, or become part of Australian culture like it has for a day at the beach, or a day at the crease.

Perhaps it was when we saw less of Greg Norman’s wide brimmed akubra when we all got a little lazy about it? Or the false perception among the over-40s that any skin damage that could lead to skin cancer had already been done? Or maybe it’s just that today’s time-poor golfer just forgets to do it in the rush and thrill of being on the golf course.

I’ve been guilty of not reapplying sunscreen during a round of golf on many occasions simply because it takes time, or I’ve forgotten, or I’ve wanted to avoid slippery hands before playing my next shot.

It’s no excuse. None whatsoever. This is serious.

So I’m pleased to support Cancer Council NSW  “Improve your long game” program to encourage golfers to use sun protection and reduce their risk of melanoma every time they play.

And sun protection on the golf course is not just limited to applying sunscreen before you play. The campaign is providing some great advice to golfers of all ages including:

  • Wearing long sleeved golf shirts to prevent sun exposure on your arms and hands.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses that comply with the Australian standard 2 or above for maximum protection.
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat to prevent overexposure to the face, ears and neck.
  • Reapplying SPF30+ dry touch/active sunscreen after nine holes.

Sun protection at any age can help reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. The damage to your skin may not already be done and men over the age of 40 are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma and around twice as likely to die from it (compared to women the same age).

We all need to start getting smarter about sun protection as it’s particularly hard to avoid the peak UV period on the golf course. Cover up with better, more protective clothing and make time to reapply.

While you’re doing it tell your playing partners to do the same thing. And the group behind you if they are waiting so that sun protection awareness is part of the culture at every golf club. Let’s play as much golf as we can. Give you and your fellow golfer a nudge in the direction away from skin cancer.

Head on over to Cancer Council NSW for more information and improve your long game.