Why Golfers Need To Wear Sunscreen

Are you taking the necessary precautions to help protect your skin?

Why Golfers Need To Wear Sunscreen
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Recent research found that only 42 per cent of golfers use sunscreen when the weather demands it. Are you taking the necessary precautions to help protect your skin?

Why Golfers Need To Wear Sunscreen

Nothing beats playing a round of golf in glorious sunshine, does it?

Away go the sweaters and waterproof jackets and out come the shorts and polo shirts.

All you need to do is slap on the sunscreen - and we all know why.

Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun, and over the last 30 years melanoma rates have doubled in the UK.

Currently, more than 44 people are diagnosed with melanoma every day.

Despite the alarming numbers, recent research conducted by SMS on behalf of the Melanoma Fund found that only 42 per cent of surveyed golfers use sunscreen when the weather demands it.

And a staggering 30 per cent admitted that they actively avoid sun protection in favour of a tan.

Why Golfers Need To Wear Sunscreen

Tours pros tend to follow the sun during the season so they need to be well stocked up with sunscreen [Getty Images]

"Some golfers have a desire to get a golf tan and there can be an attitude of 'don't tell me what to do,'" says Michelle Baker, CEO, Melanoma Fund.

"This is something we need to change."

It's hoped the the charity's Slip! Slap! Swing!' campaign will help, an initiative which encourages golf clubs across the UK to raise awareness and improve sun protection habits of their staff and members.

Sun Safety Tips

Of course, it wouldn't hurt for golfers to be reminded of how best to apply sunscreen, either.

The advice is to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go out and play and then once again every two hours.

Cancer Research UK says the best way to enjoy the sun safely and protect your skin is to use shade, clothing and sunscreen.

In fact, shade and clothing are better than sunscreen at protecting your skin, especially those items with UPF sun protection threaded into the fabric.

Related: Best Golf Caps 

However, you shouldn't ditch the sunscreen just because your course has plenty of shade, or you're wearing a hat with a wide brim.

"Lots of people get skin cancer on their ears, so it's really important to cover all those areas which are exposed and to reapply it," stresses Baker.

Why Golfers Need To Wear Sunscreen

Many golfers forget to apply sunscreen to their ears [Image: Tom Miles]

'Greasy Grip' Solution

Many golfers apply sunscreen before teeing off but they don't reapply it because they don't want a greasy grip.

Using a sunscreen applicator or a roll on is one solution, whilst Baker also recommends using Stokoderm products, which are used by people who work with tools.

And if you're someone who only gets the lotion out during peak summer, one final word of warning - people get burnt mostly in April and May when the skin is normally at its most delicate.

So, slap it on - no excuses.

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.