By Mark Rolfing, Golf Channel Analyst

Commitment to junior golf initiatives is something that has been part of my DNA for several decades now. As I continue to see more and more graduates of the junior golf ranks ascend to the professional stages around the world, I am constantly reminded of how important investing in the game’s future through junior golf is.

Watching these young people become the stars of the future in both men’s and women’s golf, I marvel not only at their skill, but at the sophisticated routines they have developed at such early ages. But there is another routine that is even more important than any pre-shot regimen – it’s your pre-round sunscreen routine.

Skin cancer can be one of the deadliest of any of the cancers. It is also the most preventable.
Having a set routine for skin protection while playing golf is extremely important. It is something that can and should be developed as junior golfers. This means applying sunscreen to all exposed parts of your body. Don’t forget those often overlooked areas like your ears, your elbows and, if wearing shorts, the backs of your knees.

Even if you are playing under overcast skies, you are susceptible to sun damage. Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet rays, which are not blocked by clouds. They are only blocked by a good sunscreen. And although UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., sunscreen should be applied throughout all of the daylight hours. Here are a few tips on what to use and how to use it:

• Use an SPF of at least 30 or higher
• Apply a generous amount( almost the size of a golf ball) to all areas of the skin that will be exposed to the sun during a round
• Engage in your application routine before you get on the course…preferably in front of a mirror and where you can clean off your hands after applying
• Re-apply every two hours or at least midway during the round
• Always wear a hat
• If you wear glasses, consider protective shades or prescription sunglasses

Recently, on behalf of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, I created several sunscreen routine
messages with PGA Tour players Stewart Cink, Billy Horschel, James Hahn, Harris English, Lucas Glover
and others. My hope is that, as junior golf continues to grow the game, more and more young golfers will become aware of the importance of skin protection while playing golf.

On so many occasions, I see golfers of all age levels put themselves at risk to the sun’s damaging rays because they either apply sunscreen haphazardly or not at all. With any golf shot, there are two vital components: planning and execution. The same goes for skin protection…what is your sunscreen

Mark Rolfing is a Golf Channel Analyst for NBC. He has covered the sport as a TV reporter – wearing a good amount of sunscreen – for more than 25 years.