The biggest decision of a golf club captain

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 or call on 07989551046. Visit the Slip! Slap! Swing! website HERE and to find out more about the Melanoma Fund visit