Sun Safe Tee: Aiming to Keep Golfers Sun Safe

Sun Safe Tee is a non-profit charity devoted to educating golfers about the importance of sun protection and early detection of skin cancer.

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Mark Wishner was first diagnosed with skin cancer in his mid-30‘s. “It very much caught me by surprise. It was a basal cell carcinoma that was treated successfully,” he says.

Then one day, the golf-loving San Diegan was watching a tournament on TV that took place on a scorching day. “It showed the players cooking out in the sun and I thought, Who teaches golfers to wear sunscreen?

Inspired, Wishner began researching the issue and realized no one was addressing the golf community about the importance of sun protection. He contacted a few friends and fellow golfers including Dr. Curt Littler (son of Gene Littler, who won the US Open in 1961), and soon, SunSafeTee.org was born.

Sun Safe Tee is a 501-C3 non-profit charity dedicated to educating the golf community about the importance of sun protection, the risks of skin cancer, and the benefits of early detection.

Though no studies have actually looked at the incidence of skin cancer among golfers, anecdotal evidence is strong that they are a high-risk group. “Golfers spend a lot of time in the sun. A round of golf takes between 4 1/2 to 5 hours which is a long time to be in the sun, especially without proper protection,” says Wisher.

That’s where the Sun Safe Tee program comes into play. They provide educational materials, offer skin cancer screenings, and conduct both in-person and virtual events across the country. And since several dermatologists sit on the board, Wishner assures that “all information is vetted, screened, and accurate.”

The majority of the Sun Safe Tee program is geared towards junior golfers, ages 7 to 18. “We know that sun exposure before the age of 25 is critical,” says Wisher, “so we really want to teach them while their young so they can develop a lifetime of safe sun practices.”

To reach more youth, Sun Safe Tee partners with many groups including the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). They’re also part of The First Tee curriculum, a national program dedicated to teaching children ages 7 to 18 life skills and values through the game of golf.

To date, the Sun Safe Tee curriculum has been taught to over 400,000 children. And Wishner is seeing changes in their behaviors. While at a junior golf tournament recently Wishner was talking to a teenage boy who was disappointed with his poor round. To Wishner’s amazement, the boy added, “But I did remember to reapply at the turn!”

“Don’t burn, reapply at the turn,” is one of Sun Safe Tee’s slogans. It refers to the half-way point or “the turn” in a round of golf when kids are taught to reapply sunscreen.

He’s also seeing young golfers applying sunscreen more often, using UVB- protected umbrellas on their carts that block 98 to 100 % of UV rays. And most importantly, he’s seeing them cover up. “Wearing clothing as a non-chemical, physical barrier to the sun is just about the best thing you can do to protect yourself from the sun,” says Wishner. So he never tires of telling the kids, “Cover up before you tee it up!”

It’s those kind of behavioral changes that buoy Wishner’s resolve. “We’d love to see skin cancer get the kind of national public awareness that other diseases like Alzheimer’s have gotten, especially in the golf community,” says Wishner. To that end, he’s seeking a professional golfer who would like to champion the cause and continues to plan exciting events in conjunction with golf tournaments across the country.

If you’d like to sponsor a Sun Safe Tee event at your organization then email Mark Wishner at mwishner {AT} sunsafetee {DOT} org. For more information about Sun Safe Tee, visit their website at SunSafeTee.org.

Photo credit: FCC, Makelessnoise

Guest post written by Susan Russo.

The Life Lesson that Golfer Adam Scott Taught Us All on Sunday

Pro golfer Adam Scott teaches us a lesson about the importance of gratitude.

By most accounts Adam Scott choked on Sunday. He had the lead, the swing, and the confidence. He should have won the Open. He lost.

The lesson he taught us was not how to collapse but how he handle a loss like a champion. When asked about his loss he didn’t makes excuses, he didn’t berate himself, he didn’t fire off positive statements about how he’s gonna get them next time. He simply expressed gratitude:

“I managed to hit a poor shot on each of the closing four holes. Look, I played so beautifully for most of the week. I shouldn’t let this bring me down.”

Scott was grateful to have played so well in one’s of golf’s greatest tournaments. Studies show that expressing gratitude in a journal or to others leads to more happiness, optimism, and better health.

At the end of the day today, write down something for which you’re grateful. That’s a lesson from a pro that will elevate your game.

Photo credit: FCC, Hone Morihana