Sun Safe

Sun protection for golfers: The best gear for head-to-toe UV protection

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May 28, 2021

As peak golf season approaches, let this be your friendly reminder to take sun protection seriously. Here are some simple checkpoints to always keep in mind: Before you head to the course, be sure to apply sunscreen to exposed skin and then to reapply every nine holes. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that will protect you from UVA and UVB rays with a SPF of 30-50. There is no way to be 100 percent protected from the sun, but there are additional measures beyond sunscreen that you can take. UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) is a rating given to clothing that grades how well it blocks UV radiation. A typical cotton T-shirt offers around a UPF 5 rating, which means a fifth of the sun's UV radiation can reach the skin. Aim for golf apparel with a UPF 30 or UPF 50 for the best protection.

Watch Tiff Joh discusses sun protection after experience with skin cancer:

Darker colors absorb more rays and offer a higher level of protection. To avoid overheating in darker shades, opt for a color-blocking pattern like this Under Armour polo with a stylish coral and black pattern. The shirt offers a UPF protection in a lightweight, athletic fit that will help keep you cool.

It's important to understand how the UPF on your sun-protective clothing can change as you wear. While your top might be UPF 30+ when you bring it home, the effectiveness can diminish as the fabric gets worn down or faded. Stretched-out fabric will also be less protective because the looser the fibers, the easier UV rays are able to find your skin. Pick clothing with 4-way stretch and durable fabric that will hold up through the summer. The Adidas men's Drive Novelty Heather Golf Polo won't cling to your skin and moves with you to ensure a comfortable wear that'll keep you protected from the sun.

The UPF can also diminish when a fabric gets wet, so if you're prone to heavy sweating, be sure to choose a top with moisture management, proper ventilation and looser cuts. The brand's HydroDri pulls moisture away from skin’s surface for longer-lasting sun protection capability.

The UPF can also diminish when a fabric gets wet, so if you're prone to heavy sweating, be sure to choose a top with moisture management, proper ventilation and looser cuts. The Adidas Men's Ultimate365 3-Stripes Golf Shorts are moisture-wicking and water repellent to manage both interior and exterior moisture. The UPF 50+ is built into the fabric, for longer-lasting sun protection capability.

It's important to remember that a cloudy day does not give you a pass on sun protection, your skin is still exposed the harmful rays. On cooler days, still opt for a jacket or sweater with UPF coverage. This pullover has a UV resistant finish for a UPF 50+. The recycled-poly fabric is breathable, wicking and great for all-weather conditions. And the muted blue shade will match with almost any bottoms, a great bonus for this layering piece.

Sun protective clothing has been growing in popularity in women's golf apparel, too. Cooling fabric technology has made it easier to comfortably wear long sleeves in sunny conditions. This top has UPF 50+ built into the thread, so it'll keep you protected through several wears and washes.

There are also a variety of accessories to add even more sun protection on the course. Arm sleeves have been growing in popularity and are often seen on both the mens and women's tours. Nike Men's Dri-FIT Solar Golf Arm Sleeves have UPF 30 coverage and the company's Dri-Fit technology for sweat management.

Bucket hats might be controversial in the style world, but in terms of sun protection, they reign supreme. Wide brim hats offer the most coverage. A typical baseball cap will only shield the top of head and half of face from the sun, whereas a bucket hat covers your ears and neck as well.
RELATED: Bucket hats: A debate on acceptable golf attire

And again, sun protective clothing is meant to work concurrently with a proper sunscreen regime. Be sure to have a broad spectrum mineral sunscreen on hand to reapply throughout your round. The Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick is easy to apply and water resistant up to 80 minutes. The zinc-based stick offers UVA and UVB protection, and the hypoallergenic formula protects your skin from harmful irritants as well.