As a native of beautiful Santa Barbara, California, the sun was as consistent as Tiger’s Sunday red. Through those years growing up in California and the last 40 years as a golf professional, I’ve had the pleasure of being outside, promoting the game of golf. However, through those years, sun protection was never my first thought while playing or teaching. Similar to many golfers, applying sunscreen tended to be a once-a-day occurrence, that turned into an afterthought for the remainder of the day. As I start a new chapter in my professional career working for SMART Golf and Fitness, my days have shifted to primarily indoor instruction. Meanwhile, outside our state-of-the-art facility, the Chicago weather has become inviting for many golfers to enjoy sunny days on the links. As a result, it’s not only an ideal but imperative time to remind golfers about the importance of sun protection. To do so, I’d like to offer procedures and apparel recommendations to enjoy your golf season safely.
Starting with headwear, there’s a choice in style for every golfer. For maximum protection, styles such as the bucket, floppy, and Aussie hats shade not only the face but your neck and ears as well. The next best options with slightly less coverage are the more popular styles such as baseball caps and visors.
Moving on to the arms, I recommend the new-to-the-market sun sleeves that offer lightweight fabric protection without the restrictions of a long sleeve shirt. These sleeves can be seen on many LPGA players as well as a majority of caddies during tournaments. Currently, one of the most innovative companies in the sun protection market is IBKUL. Their broad catalog not only offers UPF 50+ protection but what’s called “icefil technology,” designed to create a cooling thermal reaction that lowers your body temperature up to five degrees. In addition, brands such as Holderness & Bourne, Peter Millar, Travis Mathew, Greyson, and FootJoy also feature quality sun protection options.
Now, for the golfers who don’t want to wear sleeves, sunscreen is still permissible as long as there’s an effort to apply it multiple times throughout the round. Dermatologists recommend once every hour, which equates to around 6 holes. If it’s a slow day on the course, the time waiting on the tee box is a perfect opportunity to reapply thoroughly. This means covering not only the arms but the back of the neck and hands, two often forgotten and sensitive areas. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, I’ve seen some golfers carrying an umbrella which limits their duration in the sun to only their time standing over the golf ball.
All in all, sun protection is a vital aspect of any golfer’s round. Luckily, there’s no shortage of options, what tends to be the challenge is being mindful of the sun while playing the greatest game in the world. Enjoy the rest of the summer and I look forward to seeing all of you indoors this winter to get you ready to play your best golf! If you’re interested in Membership, contact our team today!
Eric Barnes is a native of Santa Barbara CA and began his playing and teaching career in the southwest. After winning the Southwest Assistant’s Championship, he competed on the Asian tour, and eventually found his way to Illinois as a teaching professional in the northern suburbs of Chicago.
Here Eric was mentored by several top 100 instructors and Hall of Fame Golf Professionals. He has served as a PGA Professional at four elite private clubs including Barrington Hills CC, Onwentsia GC, Glen Flora CC and most recently Evanston GC.
Click here to learn more about Eric.
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