The Most Important Piece of Golf Equipment - Sunscreen

What is the most important piece of golf equipment when it comes to your game? Is it your driver to get that all-important distance in a straight line? Perhaps it is the putter for converting those approach shots into pars and birdies. For some, it may be their golf trolley, or their lucky golf shoes but few people would give the correct answer, especially if you play golf in sunnier climes, which is a reliable and resistant form of sunscreen.

This is no idle threat. Experts now know that exposing the body to strong sunshine can be a leading cause of skin cancer, especially on those people who are exposed excessively to its damaging UVA and UVB rays. Given that most golfers tee off between the hours of 10am and 2pm on any given day and a typical round can take around four hours, this is the worst time for golfers to be exposing their skin to these damaging ultra-violet rays, as this is when they are at their strongest.


Indeed the Skin Cancer Foundation has felt the need to issue specialist advice to golf clubs and driving ranges, advising them on the information to advertise around their course to ensure that golfers take adequate protection from the sun.

Part of the problem is that many golfers believe some of the myths propagating as truths about skin cancer. Indeed, in a recent edition of Golf Digest, Dr Michael Kaminer, a dermatologist, revealed six myths that many golfers errantly believe to be truths about sun protection on the golf course

This is not just a minor inconvenience, yes a bad bout of sunburn can put you off your game for a day or two, but surely no golfer wants to put themselves at risk of developing skin cancer, simply because they cannot be bothered to slap on a little sunscreen before they play?


With that in mind, here are some tips to follow when you are next out on the golf course enjoying the sunshine to ensure that you can continue playing in the warmer weather safely and without risking your long-term health.

1. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours at least

It is tempting to splurge on a sunscreen with a high SPF rating (say above 30) and think that this will do you for the complete round. In actual fact, most sunscreen, whatever the SPF rating, will have worn off, been absorbed or evaporated from the skin within two hours. Therefore, apply your protection before you play and at least every two hours afterwards. In some cases, you may need to apply it considerably more frequently than this, if you are playing in extreme heat and are sweating profusely.

2. Cover as much of your skin as possible

This includes wearing a hat (a wide brimmed hat is much more beneficial than a cap or visor). Although it is tempting to break out the shorts and polo shirt on a warm day, if you have very sensitive or pale skin, light long trousers would be better to protect your legs. If you do decide to wear shorts, remember to apply the lotion comprehensively to all parts of your legs, including those that appear to be covered by socks and shorts.

3. If there is shade available, take a break in it.

One of the main problems for low-handicap golfers is that on any round in the sunshine, they are not as likely to be enjoying the shade of the trees for some respite from the heat as their higher handicap partners! In such circumstances, if you are a straight hitter, don’t stand around on the fairway for 10 minutes while you wait for others to catch up. Find a little shade close by if possible and get out of the glare of the sun for a few minutes. If you can do this at each hole, you significantly lower your exposure to the harmful rays. A great way to do this without having to leave your ball is by using your golf umbrella as a parasol.

Apply sunscreen-in-a-shadow

4. Keep hydrated

Always pack plenty of water in your golf bag on hotter days. Keeping hydrated not only helps you concentrate and keep cool, but helps your skin keep moisturised in the heat. You will also lose water through sweating in hot conditions and it is important to replenish this water to keep yourself in top condition for playing.

5. Remember to put sunscreen on the “forgotten” places.

Every golfer who has played in the sunshine will have a tale to tell of the day they went out believing they had prepared perfectly for the hot sun. Only to come home a few hours later and feel the searing burn, or occasional blistering of skin, from a body part that they had forgotten to cover. Whether it is the back of the legs behind the knees, parts of your arms and leg that are “covered” by clothing, the ears (especially pertinent if you wear a visor or cap), the nose and cheeks or even the back of your non-gloved golf hand, don’t forget to cover these areas too.


As the popularity of golf vacations continues to grow and more and more golfers are taking to the fairways in stunning, hot locations, the importance of an effective skin protection routine both before and during play has never been more important. In sunnier climes, sunscreen should be the first thing in your golf bag and as important to your round as your driver or putter.

Images by Gorilla Golf Blog©

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If you enjoyed this post please leave us your comment below

RawElements October 12, 2011

Great advice! It’s also so important to pick the right type of sunscreen. There are so many chemicals in main stream sunscreen. We’ve created an organic & chemical free sunscreen. After being a lifeguard and avid surfer for more than 17 yrs I was fed up with the options. We have since been rated #1 on Environmental Working Group’s website as “least” hazardous sunscreen. Thanks for the great informative post! Looking forward to staying in touch!


Tommy Priest October 22, 2011

Thank you for your advice. Playing in the sun for 4 hours several times per week definitely needs protection. My dermatologist says that a good cap and sunscreen is adequate. But regular check-ups (at least every couple of years) is also important.


Golfersskin Sunscreen October 27, 2011

Thanks, mate – important information that every golfer should know! Check out the Sun SafeTee Program – they are the leader in providing sun protection education and skin cancer awareness programs for the golf community. Great group of guys who are sincere about educating their peers!


Tommy Priest October 30, 2011

Thanks for tip – we’ll check out your website. Feel free to link us if you’d like to.


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