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Get “Tee’d” Off at Skin Cancer!: Golf Charity Seeks Help With Their Cause

Wishner, Mark

Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association: November/December 2011 - Volume 3 - Issue 6 - p 354–356
doi: 10.1097/JDN.0b013e318233713a

ABSTRACT Twenty-six million Americans play the game of golf. Because of the extended amount of time that golfers spend in the sun, they may have a higher risk of developing skin cancer and precancerous lesions than the general population. Because a significant percentage of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is attained before the age of 25, there is a need to educate younger golfers on the importance of sun protection.

The Sun SafeTee Program is a nonprofit organization that provides sun protection education and skin cancer prevention programs specifically to the golf community. Through a consortium of golf organizations and associations, Sun SafeTee delivers a consistent, informative, and branded message of sun protection from the time someone enters the game of golf as a child, into high school, through college, and beyond. The Sun SafeTee Program is an excellent resource for your patients who play golf and their families.

Sun SafeTee is seeking assistance in providing their message through seminars, workshops, tournament support, and skin cancer screenings for golfers.

Mark Wishner, BS, Sun SafeTee Program, Del Mar, California.

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Mark Wishner, BS, Sun SafeTee Program, 2658 Del Mar Heights Rd #525, Del Mar, CA 92014. E-mail:

The Sun SafeTee Program ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to teach sun protection strategies and provide opportunities for the early detection of skin cancer specifically to the golf community. This concept stemmed from the founder’s personal experience with skin cancer, along with his love of golf, and was fueled by the increasing skin cancer rates across the United States. Although Sun SafeTee works with golfers of all ages, our focus is on junior and collegiate golfers (Figure 1). Due to the success of our program, we are looking for dermatologists and dermatology nurses who would be interested in volunteering to help with our mission.



Although skin cancer is prolific in society, it is epidemic in the golf community. Because of the extended amount of time that golfers and golf professionals spend in the sun, they have a higher risk of developing skin cancer than the general population. Since much of the sun damage that is accrued as a child causes skin problems as an adult, educating junior and collegiate golfers is critical.

Sun SafeTee provides sun protection education seminars, distributes informational handouts and sunscreen samples at golf tournaments, and conducts PowerPoint presentations to golf professionals (Figures 2 and 3). By educating individuals on how to protect themselves (and their loved ones) from blistering sunburns, dehydration, and permanently damaging their skin, we help people reduce the risks that can lead to morbidity and mortality. Through our organized skin cancer screenings, we provide the opportunity for the detection of existing lesions.





The Sun SafeTee Program has created a consortium of golf organizations to deliver a consistent, informative, and branded message of sun protection from the time someone enters the game of golf as a child, into high school, through college, and beyond. Some of the groups joining Sun SafeTee in this effort include as follows:

  • The Men’s Collegiate Golf Coaches and the Women’s Collegiate Golf Coaches integrate Sun SafeTee into their golf programs (
  • The American Junior Golf Association is a partner with The Sun SafeTee Program (
  • The First Tee has designated Sun SafeTee as their National Sun Protection Content Provider. Each year over 400,000 young people participate in The First Tee programs (
  • The United States Golf Association invited Sun SafeTee to participate in the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, California, and again in the 2011 U.S. Open at Bethesda, Maryland (
  • The Callaway Junior World Golf Championships entrusted us to provide sun protection education materials to over 1,300 junior golfers from around the globe (
  • The Ladies Professional Golf Association has invited us to do seminars for them (
  • The Southern California Golf Association has 160,000 members, and we provide content and education for their members (
  • The Tiger Woods Learning Center regularly invites Sun SafeTee to conduct sun protection education seminars for their students (
  • Legendary Teaching Professional Jim Hardy, a “PGA Teacher of the Year,” has endorsed The Sun SafeTee Program.
  • Sun SafeTee board member and dermatologist Curt Littler, MD, is the son of PGA Tour player and U.S. Open Champion Gene Littler.

Recently, with the help of a group of PGA Tour players, we produced a DVD that discusses the different ways on how a golfer should protect himself in the sun. One video demonstrates how golfers can apply sunscreen and not have to worry about it affecting their ability to hold on to the golf club (a major reason golfers do not like to use sunscreen). The professional golfers that helped with this project include Hunter Mahan, Scott McCarron, Johnson Wagner, Chris Stroud, and Charles Warren. You can view the videos on our website at

The Sun SafeTee Program conducts programs nationwide. Last year, we held skin cancer screenings in Georgia, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee. Future events are planned in additional states.

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First and foremost, please let your patients and colleagues know about us so that we can help provide golfers with resources for their sun protection. Our website not only has good basic information but also has instructional videos that are specifically geared toward the golfing public. They can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Because of the great reception that our message has received, we are in need of volunteers with a dermatology background. We are looking for dermatologists and dermatology nurses that would be willing to provide any of the following assistance:

  • participate in skin cancer screenings in your area,
  • conduct Sun SafeTee educational programs in your area,
  • provide talks to junior and collegiate golf organizations, and
  • help with fund raising and sponsorships.

We would not ask you to commit to more time than you are comfortable with.

The rewards of volunteering come in many different forms. For some, it is strictly about education, prevention, and detection of skin cancer; for others, it is the pleasure of interacting with the next generation of golfers and watching their skills develop. Some volunteers enjoy building relationships within the golf community, and for some, they see it as a business development tool for their practice. Whatever your motivation is, you will find volunteering with Sun SafeTee to be enjoyable and rewarding.

If you would like to volunteer with Sun SafeTee, to provide a suggestion for a sponsor, or to learn more about the organization, please contact Mark Wishner at or 858.794.5457. Thank you!


Golf; Skin Cancer; Sun Protection

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.