Although golf here on Cape Cod is in “off season” mode, most of the courses are still open for play. That, plus the fact that many of our readers live in”on season” areas such as the southern USA, Hawaii, and Australia, we thought this article very timely. No matter where you play golf, protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun should be a regular part of your golf routine. The Sun SafeTee Program was started by Mark Wishner, an avid golfer, who himself had skin cancer. He sent us this guest post and asked us to spread the word.
Have you packed away your sunscreen for the season? That could be a big mistake.
The fall and winter months can be a great time to get out and enjoy a round of golf. The crowds are smaller, tee times can be easier to get and the hot summer weather has given way to the cool of fall. But just because it is cooler on the course, does not mean that you should stop paying attention to protecting your skin.
While it is important to use good sun protection, including sunscreen during the summer months, it is equally important to use those same techniques year round. The exposure we get to the sun’s UV rays is cumulative and that means that we need to protect our skin whenever we are outdoors, not just in the summertime. Since UV rays are invisible, you might not think they are reaching your skin during the non- summer months, but they are. Also, if you are taking that winter golf vacation, you need to be sure not to ruin your vacation with a sunburn.
There are two types of ultraviolet radiation that reach the earth, UVA and UVB. While both forms of UV rays can contribute to skin cancer, UVA rays can also cause premature aging of the skin and UVB are the burning rays. The reason why we are more susceptible to sunburns in the summer months is due to the prominence of UVB rays. However once summer ends and UVB is not as much of a concern, we need to continue to protect our skin from both forms of radiation but especially UVA rays.
When choosing a sunscreen look for one that has an SPF of 30+ and that says “Broad Spectrum Coverage” or “Protects against UVA and UVB rays”. Sunscreen only lasts for two hours so remember the Sun SafeTee slogan: “Don’t Burn…Reapply at the Turn®”
During fall and winter we tend to wear more clothing than we do in the summer and that can be a good thing for sun protection. Long pants and long sleeve shirts or windshirts can provide protection from the sun’s ultra violet rays. It is best to wear clothing that has a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating. That is your assurance that the garment is protecting against UV rays. Clothes that do not have a UPF rating can help protect you, although not as effectively. If your garment does not have a UPF rating, then fabrics with a tight weave and darker colors offer the best protection.
Wear a broad brimmed hat to help provide protection to your face, ears, nose and neck. Again, look for a hat that has a UPF rating. Sunglasses can help to protect not only your eyes, but the skin around your eyes. When you’re choosing sunglasses, look for UV protection details on product labels. Choose sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UVB rays and at least 95 percent of UVA rays.
Out on the golf course, whether it is July or November, August or April remember to “Cover up before you tee it up” and “Don’t Burn…Reapply at the Turn”. Go to www.sunsafetee.org to learn more about sun protection for golfers.
About Sun SafeTee
The Sun SafeTee Program, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the only nationwide organization dedicated to sun protection education and skin cancer protection specifically for golfers. Sun SafeTee provides educational seminars to golf professionals and the public, distributes sun protection information and sunscreen samples at various golf-related events. The organization focuses on Junior and Collegiate golfers and is a partner with The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA), The National Golf Course Owners (NGCOA), The Golf Course Superintendent’s Association (GCSAA), The First Tee, the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) along with numerous local and regional Junior Golf Associations.
To learn more about Sun SafeTee or to support our work with a tax deductible donation or to become a sponsor visit to www.sunsafetee.org.