A charity golf day in the Cotswolds

David Boxall

13 May 2021  |   Michelle Baker

The Melanoma Fund’s very first ‘charity golf day’ took place on May 9th at Minchinhampton Golf Club, set in the heart of Gloucestershire.

Not only was the day thoroughly enjoyable, but we were also blessed with sunny weather, which made their courses glisten, and our advice on sun protection and skin cancer highly relevant.

A successful day!

The day was attended by over 260 members who were welcomed to the club’s stunning three courses with some smart promotional flags and banners, announcing that the day was supporting the work of the Melanoma Fund, and specifically the charity’s Slip! Slap! Swing! sun protection campaign for golf.

On arrival players picked up their cards and raffle tickets, and were then greeted by Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund. Each player was given a UV reflective band (to warn them of the need to wear sun protection whilst playing) and a tube of sunscreen and some smart advice!

Even though the sun was not particularly hot, the UV was over 3, meaning it was wise to sun protect as sunburn was certainly a risk factor. This was news to some, but not for many of the members who had already suffered from skin cancer, or who knew someone who had, who knew only too well the risks.

Golfers’ habits

A recent survey* carried out by Sports Marketing Surveys for the Melanoma Fund, revealed that only 42% of golfers use sunscreen when the weather required it, and a massive 72% never reapply it when on the fairway. With nearly 30% admitting they avoid sun protection, in favour of a tan, there is still work to be done.

Says Simon Pope, General Manager of Minchinhampton Golf Club, “Our relationship with the Melanoma Fund began in late 2020 when we became Sun Protection Accredited to Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign. Our involvement has helped us improve awareness of sun protection to our staff, members and visitors and we are delighted to have joined a growing community of clubs and organisations creating a healthier future for all in the sport.

We were delighted to develop this relationship further by committing our support through this day; our largest member event of the year, which plays the Kevin Kennedy Cup, Dave Brown Cup and Barry Coombes Trophy.

These events were run on all three of our courses, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank Michelle for her time and support during our preparations, and for turning up on the day. As a leading club in the South West region, Minchinhampton Golf Club is proud to support such a proactive charity, and help to raise awareness of their vital work and to encourage donations.”

The Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign

The Melanoma Fund launched the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign in 2019, and after getting the backing of nearly every golf organisation in the UK and Ireland, they launched the Sun Protection Accreditation scheme in 2020, getting over 350 clubs Sun Protection Accredited, despite COVID challenges. This led to an encouraging start to 2021, and with a new website up and running, the charity has a new target of 600 accredited clubs by the end of the year.

Says Michelle Baker; “To be selected as the charity for the Minchinhampton Golf Club Members Charity Day was an honour and signifies to us how far we have come. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Tom and Fe, all the volunteers, club captains, pro shop staff and of course the club members. We were made to feel very welcome by everyone and thank them for their generosity.”


From green fees, and a rather splendid raffle, organised by a team of amazing volunteers, which saw three tables heaving beneath bottles of wine, sprits, golf paraphernalia, sunscreen and beauty items, the day raised a grand total of £2,850.

These funds are greatly appreciated and will be used to cover the cost of the charity’s ‘golf day promotional toolkit and resources’ allowing the Melanoma Fund to run lots more similar days with other Sun Protection Accredited golf clubs across the UK, raising awareness to more in golf and saving more from the trauma of skin cancer.

Get your golf club involved

If you fancy running a charity golf day with the Melanoma Fund, or getting your golf club Sun Protection Accredited to the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign, contact Michelle who is happy to discuss ideas HERE. For further information, visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk.


Watch Your Back! (and our new website…)

David Boxall

24 Mar 2021   |   Michelle Baker

Although it’s been a tough time for everyone, the Melanoma Fund has been working hard during the COVID-19 lockdown to ensure everything we do creates maximum impact against melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.

As well as launching with a brand new website, which will house all our prevention campaigns in one place, we have been working with an incredible team to refresh each campaign, ensuring our resources, support and communication platforms offer us the best opportunity to expand into each sector. Using the latest developments in technology each campaign will also be easier to implement, encouraging greater awareness.

Watch Your Back!

The Watch Your Back! campaign for gardeners has been completely overhauled for 2021! Whilst retaining all existing ambassadors and supporters, we have included an accreditation element and an expanded reach, helping create an even bigger impact on skin cancer in horticulture.

Over 370 garden centres, 9 leading gardeners, and 6 major horticultural organisations currently support Watch Your Back!, devised in 2016 by the Melanoma Fund. This year, with the additional backing of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA), the charity aims to seed sun protection deeper into horticulture, inviting garden centres, nurseries, and landscapers to become Sun Protection Accredited.

Get involved

Accreditation is free, open to all in the industry, and can be achieved by implementing 5 pledges, designed to keep customers and staff aware of the risks of skin cancer, with timely reminders and advice, designed to educate, and improve sun protection behaviour. Involvement can enhance existing advice, or be implemented as a stand-alone resource.

Accreditation can be achieved from 3rd May, by visiting melanoma-fund.co.uk/watch-your-back and then pledging the following actions.

  1. Appoint a ‘sun pro advisor’ to review, distribute and monitor the campaign.
  2. Add a sun protection statement to staff ‘health and safety regulations.
  3. Display awareness posters and share sun protection tips and skin cancer facts.
  4. Consider making sunscreen freely available in dispensers for staff, and retail for customers/visitors.
  5. Display the accreditation logo and certificate and promote the Watch Your Back! campaign on websites and socials.

Exclusive deal

To support and encourage the availability of sunscreen, the Melanoma Fund has partnered with Lee Brothers to offer refillable sunscreen dispensers and 100ml bottles of Stokoderm SPF30/50 in an exclusive deal for Sun Protection Accredited members.** There are no minimum orders or delivery charges, and for every unit sold, a donation will be made to the charity, to keep the campaign expanding.

Says David Stevens: “Having been an international garden designer for the past 50 years, I’ve spent most of my working life outdoors, suffering preventable sun damage as a result. Therefore, I support the Watch Your Back! campaign. Sun Protection Accreditation will inspire the industry to work in unity, encourage everyone to cover up and face the risks, at the right time, in the right place.”

Watch Your Back! is partnered with the Horticultural Trades Association, the Garden Centre Association, the Professional Gardeners Guild, the National Allotment Society, the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association, and the Association of Professional Landscapers.

BBC Morning Live gardening presenter Mark Lane says, “I urge all garden centres and nurseries to involved, as together we can really punch home the fact that skin cancer is avoidable, but only if we take sun protection seriously”.

The new website will launch on the 3rd May. For further details contact info@melanoma-fund.co.uk.

This article also appears on the following websites:

HTARead Article

Garden ForumRead Article

Horticulture WeekRead Article (subscribers only)


Skin cancer from the golf course: The facts

David Boxall

12 Mar 2021   |   Seamus Rotherick for The Golf Business Magazine

Golf and greenkeeping are healthy activities but overexposure to UV light can be a potential health hazard. Fortunately, it’s one that can be easily managed, as Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund, details.

Although it has been a ‘challenging’ 12 months for all, many greenkeepers have had the opportunity to work throughout the pandemic, which is a positive. Although keeping the fairways nurtured and flourishing all year round is important, those who work outdoors, and especially greenkeepers, also need to focus on their health, and in particular that of their skin.

The Melanoma Fund recognised the issue of skin cancer for all those who spend lots of time on the highly reflective surfaces, those that make up a typical golf course. As a response, last year it launched the Sip! Slap! Swing! campaign to keep more of us educated and aware.
Although golf is a healthy sport, actively and positively affecting mental and physical well-being, over exposure to UV light can be a potential health hazard, but one that can be easily managed and offset with good routines and habits. Although many of us are vigilant regarding sun protection during summer, we should be equally as attentive the rest of the year, monitoring skin for changes each month.

Get it checked

Checking your skin is a habit that can save your life. By dedicating half an hour a month to a full examination, not only are you in a better position to spot something suspicious early, leading to a much better prognosis, you will also become better connected to your skin. A bit like checking turf for weeds; you get to know the problem areas and are therefore more likely to keep things in check.

Whilst mortality rates in females have increased by 80 percent, rates in males have more than tripled since the early 70s. One of the reasons for the disparity is due to men failing to check out suspect moles or lesions. Over 60 percent never check their backs – where skin cancer often occurs – to see if existing moles have changed, or if new ones have appeared, in effect leaving it ‘too late’.
The Melanoma Fund recently launched the ‘Get Skin Savvy’ initiative. It introduces an animated video featuring ‘Mark the Golfer’ it explains how, when and why to check your skin, and most importantly, what to look out for, using the ABCDE Rule. The initiative aims to impact the rising rates of skin cancer and incidence of late diagnosis, which is higher in men.

Allan Matthews, lead dermatologist for the European Tour, and the newly appointed medical advisor of the Slip! Slap! Swing! Campaign, says: “It is extremely easy to underestimate the damage caused by UV exposure, as we are all programmed to think of the sun as being healthy. We all want that golden tan and to look well-travelled, however, having had first-hand experience of how the sun can adversely affect your skin, I urge every greenkeeper, as well as all golfers, to read this advice. Melanoma is not something you want to be dealing with at stage 4, which can easily be the case if you’re not vigilant.”


Ingestre Park Golf Club to get ‘creatively charitable’ in 2021

David Boxall

20 Jan 2021   |   Michelle Baker

When it comes to charitable causes, golfers are renowned for their generosity, with millions being raised by golf clubs around the UK each year. Although many will be forgiven for scaling down their fundraising efforts this year due to the pandemic, one is planning on ways to make this one of their most successful fundraising years ever.

Ingestre Park Golf Club, the 18-hole club nestled in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside, will be supporting Melanoma Fund, the charity behind the Slip! Slap! Swing! sun protection campaign for golf. They will be joining forces to create a diary of events that keep club members involved, entertained and engaged, at a time when we all need something to smile about!

Lady captain, Kerry Darke, and club president, Margaret Kirby are determined to get the year off to a flying start, helping raise funds awareness of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer, an issue affecting many in golf, due to the highly reflective surfaces of a golf course, and time spent outside during the summer.

Says Kerry; “We have members who have suffered melanoma in the club, and we all know many more golfers who have been touched by all types of skin cancer, so it made complete sense to support the Melanoma Fund and their great campaign, which is really creating impact in the UK.

We will be working with the charity to generate some inventive fundraising events this year, quite different from our usual calendar of events. With many people of all ages communicating and socialising digitally, we will take advantage of this, utilising ideas that keep people smiling.”

Ingestre Park Golf Club is among the 300+ golf clubs already signed up to the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign. By being Sun Protection Accredited, they have pledged to ensure that their members and visitors are made aware of the importance of sun protection, understand the facts, and have access to sunscreen if required.

Says Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund; “Although this year will be undoubtedly difficult, we see this as an opportunity to do things differently. Our aim is to work with the club to create some exciting ‘dates in the diary’ for members, all obviously within the realms of whatever restrictions are in place at the time.

We are also keen to help raise awareness to their members on the importance of sun protection and will do whatever we can to make this year a successful one for all. “

For further information on the Melanoma Fund and the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk


Harry Townsend - Forever in our hearts

David Boxall

20 Dec 2020   |   Michelle Baker

Harry Townsend (28 August 1936 – 21 December 2020)

It is with sadness we announce the passing of Harry Townsend, our esteemed founder, former chair, and dear friend. Harry, 84 died this week following a two-year illness, suffering from prostate cancer.

Harry, who was born in Derby, moved to East Grinstead after marrying his wife Myfanwy and lived in the town for over 50 years.

He founded the Melanoma Fund in 2000, known then as the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund after Myfanwy died of melanoma in 1999. Having built the charity, he remained committed and passionate to it for nearly 20 years, supporting its work, and following its progress daily.

A keen, and self-confessed ‘eccentric gardener’, Harry was a Master of Horticulture (MHORT), who began his career as a supervisor at Wakehurst Place. In 1973 was promoted to the position of assistant curator at Kew Gardens, where he remained until 1987. Harry inspired the launch of the charity’s Watch Your Back! sun protection campaign for gardeners, drawing in support from his incredible contacts in the horticultural industry.

Harry loved sport and in particular rugby. A ‘brilliant’ coach, he leaves a legacy of incredible memories with his ‘old boys’; the former players from Felbridge Juniors he helped take to stunning success and international fame. Led by his passion and enthusiasm for the game, with his wife Myfanwy at his side, their story is one of legend, and one which everyone involved holds close to their hearts.

His love of life and affinity with the great outdoors saw him lead a full and active life. He founded the Trail Running Association, ran marathons, climbed mountains, walked across islands (with a wheelbarrow named George), was a published author, and combined this with his charitable work, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for melanoma research.

A loving dad, Harry leaves three sons, Stewart, Cameron, and Mark, and five grandchildren. His family, and all those who knew him, will agree that he was unique and much loved; a rather modest, but special human who truly believed in people.

Blessed with extraordinary compassion, kindness, and selflessness, there will only be one Harry Townsend, an inspiring force who positively and consistently impacted the lives of all he met. His death will leave a huge hole in many hearts, hopefully, filled with the incredible life memories that he helped create.

From all at the Melanoma Fund.


Golfers urged to get skin savvy

David Boxall

26 Oct 2021   |   Michelle Baker

This summer, the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign persuaded golf to ‘get sun savvy’. This autumn the Melanoma Fund is back encouraging golfers to ‘get skin savvy’, by carrying out a monthly skin check to help avoid late detection of melanoma, a problem more prevalent in men.

An animated video featuring ‘Mark the Golfer’ explains how, when, and why to check, and most importantly what to look out for, using the ABCDE Rule.

Men at higher risk

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer but is easier to treat in its earliest stages. If left it has the potential to spread to other parts of the body, making it profoundly more difficult to treat, impacting the quality of life, and life expectancy.

Whilst mortality rates in females have increased by 80%, rates in males have more than tripled (233%) since the early 70s.1 One of the reasons for this disparity is due to men failing to check out suspect moles or lesions. Over 60% never check their backs – where skin cancer often occurs in men – to see if existing moles have changed, or if new ones have appeared, and end up leaving it ‘too late’.

Sam Orkar, melanoma and skin cancer surgeon says, “I often hear men who have been diagnosed with melanoma say; ‘I noticed it but didn’t bother because it wasn’t giving me any trouble.’ It is usually a partner who convinces them to see their GP, and it’s the denial that’s causing the trouble.”

Melanoma is the UK’s 5th most common cancer with rates having more than doubled since the 1990s, and around 44 melanoma cases now diagnosed daily.1 A significant factor contributing to these statistics are increased periods of intense sun exposure; whether through working or playing sport in the sun, overseas holidays, or the use of sunbeds.

Raising awareness and educating

Golfers and greenkeepers are at an increased risk of skin cancer due to highly reflective surfaces on a golf course, as well as the time spent on it. This initiative aims to raise awareness of a simple health routine that can save lives, urging anyone concerned about a mole or lesion to see their GP immediately.

“Golfers tend to avoid applying sunscreen due to ignorance, lack of motivation, being late for a round, and possibly for fear of a greasy grip. They neglect to get a mole or unusual lesion checked for fear of wasting their GP’s time, says Dr. Tony Buckland, GP, surgeon, and golfer. “Nothing is more frightening than a cancer diagnosis, so pick up the phone; it’s what we’re here for, even with COVID around!”

Currently, only 11% of people have their skin checked by a professional and only 33% check their own skin annually, despite dermatologists recommending that this should be carried out monthly. The initiative provides the following advice:

CHECK IT – Learn how, why, and when to perform a skin check, or consider a professional check when and where possible.

GET TO KNOW IT – Although we are all at risk, this increases for those who burn easily, have lots of moles, fair skin, freckles, and those with red or light hair.

REPORT IT – If worried or suspicious about a mole or lesion visit your GP immediately. Trust your intuition; if it feels wrong, get it seen.

PREVENT IT – Review and pledge to improve your sun protection habits. Wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, SPF30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen and seek shade.

Dr. Elizabeth Blakeway, consultant dermatologist says; “Protect your skin and it will protect you, so ‘get skin savvy’ with regular checks. Time is of the essence when it comes to melanoma, and delaying a diagnosis can result in a potentially devastating outcome, so getting familiar with your skin is vital.”

Say’s Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund; “With over 200 golf clubs getting Sun Protection Accredited to the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign this year, we are really creating an impact. We will continue this work after summer to keep golf engaged, educated, and ‘skin savvy’, as well as ‘sun savvy’.

Notes for editors

1 Cancer Research UK

2 Skin cancer prevention study by La Roche-Posay and Ipsos

For case studies featuring golfers please contact Michelle Baker at michelle@melanoma-fund.co.uk or 07989551046


St Levan Church supports Melanoma Fund

David Boxall

22 Sep 2020   |   Michelle Baker

The Melanoma Fund is always happy to support and promote the fundraising efforts of those who take the time to act and actively support our work. Having received a cheque for £170 from Michael Searle – a melanoma patient and friend of the charity for a number of years – we asked him to give an account of how and why he raised these valuable funds for us.

In his own words below, over to Michael!

“St Levan Church nestles out of the prevailing wind just a few miles from Land’s End and within a stones thew of the famous Minack Open Air Theatre. Every quarter it supports a different charity, and at the beginning of this year I was asked to nominate a charity, and I chose the Melanoma Fund. I had met their CEO Michelle Baker a couple of times at the annual Melanoma Patient’s Conference – the first time in 2016 – and although Michelle claims to have met my wife on one of these occasions, she did not attend, so whoever she is thinking of… I deny it!

I have always been impressed with the Fund’s emphasis on prevention. I have stage IV melanoma, so I guess I was the obvious choice to speak about the disease, and the Melanoma Fund’s work. I am a retired Anglican priest and help out at St Levan so I was used to speaking in that context.

Michael Searle and Michelle Baker at the Melanoma Patient Conference in 2016

I began by talking about my own journey from diagnosis and being told it was terminal through various experimental treatments, and then to my present stage of over 9 years post immunotherapy treatment. I then talked about the causes of melanoma and the treatments available.

I pointed out, forcefully, that the best treatment is prevention. This is where I began to talk about the excellent work of the Melanoma Fund and in particular their Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign, with its target of golfers and greenkeepers, and the Watch your Back! campaign to protect gardeners – a cause particularly close to my own heart.

I have long since given up golf because for me it was a case of ‘slip, slap, slice’, but I am a keen vegetable grower. We also have within the parish the Chelsea Gold Medal winners at Penberth Plants! I am really delighted with our church’s response both in terms of money raised and the mind’s educated and changed.”

Thank you, Michael. All of us here at the Melanoma fund appreciate your endeavours and the generosity of the congregation at St Levan. We know that attendance has been hit hard by COVID during this fundraising time, so to generate this amount for the charity, which will be wisely used in our prevention work, is truly fantastic.


Glendale Golf helps us ‘Slip! Slap! Swing!’ over our 200 club target

David Boxall

22 Sep 2020   |   Michelle Baker

Glendale Golf, one of the UK’s leading golf operators has agreed to get all its 6 golf centres Sun Protection Accredited to the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign, helping the Melanoma Fund smash their target of over 200 supporting clubs this summer.

The charity launched the campaign last year to target golfers and greenkeepers, who typically spend lots of time outdoors during summer, on highly reflective surfaces. With a new report revealing that rates of melanoma have more than doubled in the UK in the last 30 years, a prevention campaign for golf could not have been better timed.

Says Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund;

“This year we launched our Sun Protection Accredited scheme for clubs, and despite the challenges of COVID restrictions, we have been completely overwhelmed with the support we have received from every facet of golf, helping make this campaign such a success.

Getting Glendale Golf on board is great news, and with more clubs pledging to sign-up before the end of September, this an ideal way to conclude our 2020 summer activity. The late sunshine has helped keep this important campaign topical and relevant, with the UV index still hitting 3, sun protection should still be very much a part everyone’s routine, not just for the golfers and greenkeepers.”

Some of the most prestigious clubs in the UK and Ireland are involved, and with Glendale Golf representing the third golf operator to sign up, this creates a strong platform for the charity’s planned expansion into Sun Protection Accredited tournaments and tourism next year.

Stuart Hill is one of the team at Richmond Park Golf Course and will be representing the club as their Sun Pro Ambassador. He says,

“Having suffered from skin cancer issues for years, I fully understand the importance of this campaign. I am delighted to ensure that the work Glendale Golf is doing creates maximum impact. If I can help save just one person going through what I went through – or anything worse – it will be all worthwhile”.

Glendale Golf represents Duxbury Park Golf Course, Castle Point Golf Course, Edwalton Golf Centre, Tilgate Forest Golf Centre, Portsmouth Golf Course and Richmond Park Golf Course, and will be ensuring the venues are signed up, and Sun Protection Accredited this week.

For further information visit the Melanoma Fund’s Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign.


Crown Golf agrees to Slip! Slap! Swing! this summer

David Boxall

21 Aug 2020   |   Michelle Baker

Crown Golf has today announced that it will be lending its support to Slip! Slap! Swing! – a sun protection campaign for golf, tackling the issue of skin cancer in the sport. With a new report published this week, revealing that rates of melanoma have more than doubled in the UK in the last 30 years, this could not have been better timed.

Crown Golf will have all 8 of their clubs signed up to become Sun Protection Accredited, a scheme which was launched Melanoma Fund this year. With over 150 clubs signed up, and backing by every major golf organisation, the campaign also boasts a team of golf industry ambassadors, working together to create a major impact on skin cancer; a preventable disease, mainly caused by over-exposure to the sun.

Says Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund;

“We are delighted with this news. Crown has some of the most beautiful and popular courses in the UK, and this move will help us reach thousands of their members and staff and will help inspire other likeminded organisations to also take action.

It has been a challenging time for all in golf this year, however, despite this, we have had an amazing response from the industry. We have positioned our narrative in a positive and educational way, making this a progressive campaign, encouraging everyone to get out and play, but in a sun savvy way!”

Sun Protection Accreditation

By signing up, golf clubs can effectively enhance awareness around sun protection and skin health, in a way that is easy to implement, benefitng the heath of their members and staff. Involvement is free and all assets are supplied, and with the help of an ambassador in each club, awareness is driven from within. To qualify as a Sun Protection Accredited club, there are 5 actions that are required:

  1. Nominate a Sun Pro Ambassador
  2. Add a sun protection statement
  3. Display awareness posters
  4. Ensure sunscreen is available
  5. Display the Sun Protection Accreditation logo and certificate

Says Stephen Towers, CEO of Crown Golf;

“We are pleased to be supporting the Melanoma Fund with their mission to enhance greater awareness of this now fastest-rising cancer across the UK. At Crown Golf we recognise that we are in a position to help grow the awareness of skin cancer, and more importantly, we can help our customers understand how they can protect themselves, and encourage them to take the right actions to help prevent the spread of this devastating cancer.”


The charity has taken on a team of golf ambassadors made up of golfers, caddies and top industry experts, all helping spread awareness. All participating clubs will receive free sunscreen and promotional support in promoting their work, to help keep them motivated and throughout the summer.


The biggest decision of a golf club captain

David Boxall

18 Jul 2020   |   Michelle Baker

Congratulations! So you have just been made Club Captain, and you’re ready for a year of responsibility and decision making. This is a role that can be time-consuming and demanding, but also incredibly rewarding, and dare we say fun (you’ll certainly spend more time at the golf club!)

To be in this position you’ll already be well thought of at the club and have a great relationship with the staff and members. You’ll be a well-informed regular golfer, who relishes the idea of creating positive change and will want to achieve this with passion and zest.

To do this job well, you need to be surrounded by competent people to assist you with the task of heading up the “field of play”, which is all golf played on the club course(s). You will most probably form part of a small team of Captains, working alongside the Club Manager and Club PGA Professional, prepared to attend all the meetings of the Executive Committee.

Your principal tool will be your Golf Committee; a team of people who report only to the Captain for its actions and each will use their Committee in a different way, from agreeing on improvements in the club, brainstorming through difficult times (and in particular the post-COVID-19 backlash), and helping the club become forward-thinking and profit-making.

Captain’s charity of choice

In addition to all of these tasks – which are not exhaustive – one of your first and most important decisions will be to select a Captain’s Charity of Choice. This could be a purely personal choice or something you field to your team or club members. It could be a local charity, or maybe a charity which is working nationally, or something ‘golf-centric’.

When it comes to a cause, there are so many great charities out there doing amazing things. When it comes to something relevant in golf, how about skin cancer? Nearly every golfer or greenkeeper knows someone who has been touched melanoma or another type of skin cancer. If you have been affected yourself, you will understand how devastating a diagnosis can be.

The Melanoma Fund launched the Slip! Slap! Swing! sun protection campaign for golf in 2019 and expanded the offering in 2020 to launch an accreditation scheme for golf clubs, which aims to protect golfers, caddies, and greenkeepers from the sun.

Jeff and Anna Morris and Neil Emmerson from Chartham Park Golf & Country Club

How support can create good

The campaign only exists due to three amazing captains who made the decision to support the Melanoma Fund as part of their residency in 2018. Neil Emmerson, supported by Senior Captain’s Jeff and Anna Morris from Chartham Park Golf & Country Park in West Sussex, agreed as Jeff had survived melanoma, and they wanted to give something back. After raising an incredible £25,000 it was agreed that creating a campaign to protect all in golf would be a fitting legacy.

Slip! Slap! Swing! went on to be supported by every major golf organisation in the UK and Ireland and this year is growing a community of golf clubs, with the aim of getting 250 signed up by the end of the year. The campaign offers resources that are completely free for all clubs and will always remain so.


Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) is the most common cancer in the UK, with more than 152,000 new cases diagnosed every year – the equivalent of 416 every day putting a £180 million burden on the NHS. This is more than breast, prostate, and lung cancers combined. By 2025 there are expected to be almost 400,000 NMSC diagnoses a year.

Golfers and greenkeepers are more than twice as likely to develop NMSC as those that spend more time indoors because of increased exposure to UV light, and also due to the highly reflective surfaces on a golf course, which offers little shade.

All funds raised for the Melanoma Fund via a golf club will directly benefit the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign, allowing this to expand to reach more golfers and greenkeepers. and as a small charity, your donations can be traced to ensure impact.

Support and giving back

As a highly proactive and interactive charity, you will be provided with professional advice and support to ensure your marketing, publicity, and fundraising tactics provide you with the best potential to reach your financial targets. Michelle Baker, the charity’s CEO has over 25 years of experience in marketing and campaigns, and after 7 years at the charity understands how important it is to ensure funds equal impact.

Once selected, we will travel to the club and meet your committee, give a talk on what we do, get the club Sun Protection Accredited, provide the team with free sunscreen, and offer one free skin health check event.

This will be staffed by skin cancer surgeons and dermatologists, to ensure that your members not only understand the importance of sun protection but put early detection habits on their radars. We may even save some lives by changing habits and providing early diagnosis.

CEO Michelle Baker and the skin check team

Contact us

For further information on how we can support you as a Club Captain and discuss how, and why supporting a small charity can be rewarding and beneficial, please email Michelle Baker at michelle@melanoma-fund.co.uk or call on 07989551046. Visit the Slip! Slap! Swing! website HERE and to find out more about the Melanoma Fund visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk.