PGA pro Harry Toscano once joked, “I’m hitting the woods just great, but I’m having a terrible time getting out of them.” In the game of golf, trees aren’t your friend and if you’re staying on the fairway, shade can be difficult to find. It’s no surprise then that golfers are at high risk for skin cancer. A round can mean prolonged sun exposure, often during the sunniest hours of the day. Thankfully, there are a few simple things you can to do to protect your skin without sacrificing your game.
Take Advantage of Those Twilight Deals
Whenever possible, schedule your rounds very early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is less intense. Many golf courses offer discounted rates for late tee-off times so you’ll be helping your skin and your wallet!
Seek the Shade
While trees may not be your friend on the course, there are other structures you can use for shade to give your skin a much-needed break from dangerous UV rays. There are covers that can be placed on golf carts and umbrellas that are specially designed for UV protection.
Wear Sun Protective Clothing
Clothing is your first line of defense when it comes to sun protection. Long sleeves and long pants provide the greatest coverage (length is also super helpful when you find yourself in the rough, like I often do). A number of manufacturers make sun protective clothing designed for the golf course so it’s easy to find pieces that are lightweight and game-appropriate.
Wear A Hat
While we typically recommend a wide-brimmed hat for maximum sun protection, we recognize this isn’t the most practical option on a golf course. Baseball caps and visors, however, are good options which will stay in place and provide coverage to your face. Be sure to cover your ears and neck with sunscreen as these areas are still exposed.
Protect Your Eyes
If you follow any PGA tournaments, you’ve likely seen your favorite pro wearing sunglasses at one point or another. Not only do they help to protect your skin, but some players say they improve visibility and reduce glare. In selecting a pair, look for one that will block 99-100 percent of UV radiation, protecting the eye, eyelid and surrounding areas.
Apply at least one ounce of water-resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed areas 30 minutes before heading out to the course. Look for a sport formula which is sweat resistant and won’t run into your eyes. And remember to reapply every two hours, or more often if you are sweating heavily (or decide to venture into a water hazard to hit out). Depending on your speed of play, it’s helpful to designate a hole or two where you will always reapply.
When it comes to success on the course, practice and persistence are key. The same goes for sun protection: Practice it faithfully and you will be successful in lowering your skin cancer risk.