Golfing is an elite sport that requires total focus and measured movements. So what makes it dangerous? Apart from Pokémon GO players traipsing on to the golf course, it is the sun that makes this game dirty. You can tell simply by the way you turn ruddy when you get back home after a game.
Washing off the grime and the fallen micro-warriors of your sunscreen are proof of the battle that took place on your skin. Keeping your skin safe in the sun does not require as big as investment as custom-made wedges.
If you have enough time and money to golf, then you can surely afford to take some minor precautions and save yourself from skin cancer. The cancer figures are on a rise and it will be a shame if you become a statistic just because of golf.
Sun Exposure Explained
The most harmful part of the sun rays are the UV rays. There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin through dermis, the thickest layer of the skin. This causes wrinkling and aging of the skin faster. The UVB are shorter rays and do immediate damage like sunburn. On lighter skin, a sunburn can look gory.
Different types of skins respond differently to sun. Light-skinned folks are more likely to get melanoma than dark-skinned ones. Blonde hair, Blue eyes, freckles all signify a skin that’s more prone to cancer. Any procedure to remove the damage caused by sun like those done on golfer Rory Sabbatini or Adam Scott comes at a heavy price. A few key points can help you juggle sun protection and golf.
How To Stay Cool On The Course?
Use a broad spectrum sun screen (UVA and UVB protection) with SPF between 30 and 50 on the golf course. The sunscreen will be effective against both kinds of rays above SPF 30. Use it around 30 minutes before you step out in the sun, to take effect. You also need to re-apply it every 2-4 hours. As you sweat, the sunscreen runs down you face with it.
So stick to the re-application ritual for healthy skin. Wear sunscreen even on cloudy days. If the rays can get through your skin, they can definitely shoot through the clouds.
Read the weather forecast and see how sunny it is going to be. Can you play another day? Can you book a cooler tee-time? Take that chance. UVB rays are at their harmful best between 10 AM – 4 PM. Avoid teeing-off at these hours.
Shade yourself as much as possible. For your eyes, buy UV-protective sunglasses that cover the eye, eyelid and surrounding area. Use a wide brim bucket hat or a normal cap with a shade. These caps should have at least 2-3 inches of fabric extension in the front to keep the sun out of your eyes. In between shots, try and stand in the shade of a tree.
Wear golf clothes that cover most of the real estate on your body. Long-sleeved shirts do not look dowdy. They look smart and also protect you from cancer. Opting for full trousers instead of shorts could keep your legs from looking two-toned.
Walking in the sun can rob you of your energy. It can leave you feeling dehydrated. It’s best to carry water or an electrolyte you are comfortable with through the rounds. Sip water every 15-20 mins and stay at the top of your game.
Your lips are as susceptible to sun damage as the rest of your face. The market is seeing an influx of SPF-reinforced lip balm. Make use of these concoctions to pull the shade over your lips too.
Having a healthy body can fight off many diseases. Nutrition helps double the shielding effect from both inside and outside the body. Foods that contain generous amounts of antioxidants will protect your skin from sun impact. Carrots, tomatoes, watermelon, wine, hazelnuts, salmon etc. are readily available food items. Having a healthy dose of these in your diet can ward off the effect of sun exposure as well. We have explored golf nutrition in detail here
Well, literally. Pro golfers have spent their fair share of time in the sun. So they know the cause and effects better than anybody. Check out the products that pro golfers use and learn how they manage their time between the holes to apply sunscreen and stay hydrated.