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On The Tee: Our Joint Sun Protection Initiative

With the school year winding down, the college golf season is making the final turn and headed for home in all divisions.  While May is national championship month, April is known for conference championships across the country.  Whether it is a four school conference  back east, a six team championship fighting a late Spring snow storm in the high plains, or the SEC enjoying southern hospitality at Sea Island, bragging rights are on the line.  Let me encourage all fans of college golf to go out and see these conference showdowns if they happen to be played close to your home.  To see a complete listing of these tournaments in all divisions, visit

Over the last ten years, the national office staff and I have been involved with hundreds of proposed events and college golf initiatives. While all are well intentioned and seem totally logical to the pitch man, most end up on the cutting room floor. A little over 18 months ago this office received a call from the Sun SafeTee organization and their pitchman Executive Director Mark Wishner.  The purpose of the call was to see if the GCAA would be interested in getting involved with Skin Cancer prevention and education.  After careful consideration of about one minute, I said absolutely yes.  This is something that we as a coaches’ association must get behind.  My big question was why had we not thought to do this before?

Since that initial call, our association has made skin cancer prevention and education an association-wide initiative.  Working with Sun SafeTee we have partnered with junior golf groups and other golf organizations to spread a consistent message that starts with juniors and follows through the college years.  During this school year alone, onsite screenings at selected college tournaments coordinated by Sun SafeTee have evaluated just less than 400 student athletes and coaches.  The results revealed five potential melanomas (possible cancer) and 26 pre-cancerous lesions.  This was rather sobering news for young student athletes and their coaches, but was detected in situations where it may have been missed.

In the fall of 2010 our office reached out to our friends at the PGA TOUR to see if they would assist us in producing an educational video for junior and college golfers on skin cancer prevention.  The Tour embraced the initiative and helped produce and edit the player testimonials for the video.  Working with our partner, the Sun SafeTee organization, and with financial support from our newest Corporate Partner, Sundog Eyewear, the educational DVD was mailed this week to more 600 GCAA member schools.  Additionally, more than 50 of our “Friends of the Association” will receive a copy in the coming weeks.  The Friends are primarily junior golf organizations across the country.  The goal is simple - show the DVD to the players and help us spread the word - Cover up before you tee it up!

Let me encourage the more than 30,000 College Golf Connection readers to follow the link below and watch this very important video.  Further, help us spread the word and forward the link to anyone you know who plays the game, especially the next generation of junior golfers!

Finally, if you are a fan of college golf, let me encourage you to follow college golf and the GCAA on Facebook and Twitter presented by our Social Media Partner The Gateway Pro Tour.

Gregg Grost
Golf Coach, Lamar University/University of Oklahoma 1981-2000