Don’t let the sun’s UV add to your handicap

A round of golf can take 4+ hours, exposing players to high UV which can increase your risk of skin cancer. Often this can take place over periods of the day when the UV is most intense putting golfers at high risk of overexposure and skin damage. Even at very low levels of UV, the length of time outdoors means good sun protection is always needed on the course to help prevent UV exposure from adding up.

Five tips for how to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide to stay on par

1. Cover up exposed skin: SLIP on clothing that covers as much skin as possible while still being comfortable and game appropriate. If you can see skin, UV can reach it. Try densely-woven, loose-fitting, cool clothing or golf gear labelled UPF50 to help block UV. Consider long-sleeved shirts with collars and long trousers. Length can also be helpful for protecting your limbs in the rough.

2. Apply sunscreen correctly and frequently: SLOP on SPF50+ broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to any parts of skin not covered by clothing. Sunscreen won’t provide 100% protection but used in conjunction with other sun protection methods it will greatly reduce your risk of skin damage.

  • Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before teeing off. Put sunscreen in your golf bag so you have a supply on hand.
  • Choose a formula that feels comfortable on your skin that you’ll be happy to reapply. Try a dry touch formula for easier grip.
  • Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours so around the time you reach the 9th hole. Reapply more frequently if it’s a slow round or you’re working up a sweat. Hydration breaks or shady parts of the course also provide the perfect opportunities to reapply.
  • Correct application of sunscreen is essential. 85% of Aussies don’t use enough sunscreen putting themselves at risk. Check out our sunscreen calculator.

3. Protect your face, neck and ears: SLAP on a legionnaire hat or bucket hat for full protection that will help protect your cheeks, ears and neck. It will also help with sun glare. If that style of hat isn’t practical, as a last resort wear a cap. It won’t provide full protection but it will help protect the top of the head, forehead and eyes. Be extra vigilant in applying sunscreen to your cheeks, chin, ears and neck because those parts will be particularly vulnerable.

4. Avoid peak UV times of day: Aim to play earlier in the morning or later in the day when the sun’s UV isn’t as intense. Take advantage of Twilight rounds that are generally discounted. Download the free SunSmart app to stay on top of UV levels and sun protection times. SEEK shady courses whenever possible. Hydrate and rest in the shade. Bring your golf umbrella or a hands-free umbrella that attaches to your golf bag. On days with high UV levels consider using a golf cart for additional shade.

5. Protect your eyes and improve visibility: SLIDE on sunglasses to help protect your eyes from UV and sun glare. They can also improve visibility on the course by helping protect your eyes from wind, dust, grit and bugs. For best protection, choose a wrap-around style that meet the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1067).

Keen to raise funds for Cancer Council’s research, prevention, and support services, all while testing your golfing skill, strength and stamina? Visit The Longest Day website.