Dr Allan Matthews

Ambassadors

Dr Allan Matthews

As the lead dermatologist for the PGA European Tour, Dr Allan Matthews is responsible for overseeing the skin health of professional golfers, caddies, and tour staff. As our medical advisor, he brings valuable insight to ensure the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign message is up to date, and relevant for all in golf.

Dr Allan Matthews graduated in Medicine with Commendation from the University of Dundee in 2007, followed by post-graduate medical training in Edinburgh and Dermatology training in Glasgow. He has been a consultant dermatologist with NHS Fife in Scotland since 2015 and an honorary senior lecturer at the University of St Andrews since 2018.

His training and practice cover all aspects of dermatology including skin cancer diagnosis and treatment. He is particularly passionate about the prevention and early diagnosis of skin cancer, through education and screening and has a keen interest in medical education and in the fledgling field of sports dermatology.

As the Lead Dermatologist for the PGA European Tour, Dr Matthews oversees the skin cancer screening and education service for professional golfers, caddies, and tour staff. He uses this contact as an opportunity to raise awareness of skin cancer and educate on the importance of sun protection and regular self-examination, and to highlight red flags to look out for in terms of identifying a possible skin cancer.

He says; “We have produced educational infographics and offer education and full skin examination sessions at events. My focus is not just on sunscreen use but also physical protection (hats and sleeves), recognition of risk and early detection. We speak about melanoma but also non-melanoma skin cancer which is probably a bit more prevalent in this group, though admittedly not as potentially dangerous.

I am keen to help the Melanoma Fund align their campaign messages to ensure that the accreditation scheme and advice proffered is relevant, accurate and viable for all in golf.

The most important aspect of this is to create good habits, which can be difficult, especially for the older generation. However, with persistence and positive, consistent messaging metred out by the media and golf clubs, we can inspire everyone to take a closer look at their skin health. This is a campaign which aims to create a positive and healthy legacy for golfers of all genders and ages”.

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Jamie Cundy

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Jamie Cundy

Golf Manager and PGA Advanced Fellow Golf Professional at Calderfields Golf & Country Club.

Having been a professional sportsman all his adult life, Jamie Cundy has spent the majority of his time either playing golf for a living or teaching the game to amateur golfers and other professionals.

His melanoma story proves that knowing your skin as well as regular health checks is always a good thing and a valuable lesson for those who may not think visiting their GP is a priority.

My story
In 2014 I made an appointment with my GP because I had a persistent earache (unrelated to any cancer symptoms) and it was at this appointment where the doctor noticed a small mole on my left forearm, of which I had never really taken any notice.

He immediately sent me off for a biopsy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. I endured the outcome wait without a thought for the result; cancer never crossed my mind. I was completely shocked two weeks later when told by my GP I had an aggressive form of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. I returned to the hospital a week later to have the cancer removed.

Further to this, I underwent two successful operations on my left arm, which removed the cancer cells completely, leaving only a scar. It certainly turned my world upside down; developing skin cancer is something that I never thought I would be prone to, but looking back I now know how naïve and lucky I was.

I am fair skinned with red hair and have a lot of moles, a triple whammy trait that is right up there on the scale of vulnerability to skin cancer. Add the fact I have worked outdoors for most of my life, with a pretty lousy sun protection habit, and trouble was just waiting to happen.

It was only the earache that got me to my GP, resulting in an early diagnosis, which meant I was treated quickly and successfully. But it could have been much worse. I now make sure that I give my skin a regular check, and protect myself from the sun at certain times of the day. Importantly, I will never put myself in a situation where I will let my skin burn.

Following my experiences, I am keen to ensure that fellow golfers – as well as others working outdoors – are aware of ways to avoid heightening the risk of skin cancer. As well as the Melanoma Fund, I also work at the forefront of raising awareness with Macmillan and cancer specialists at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

I’ve spoken to a few pros about the fact that skin cancer is now epidemic and golfers are at a high risk, but most still neglect sun protection. This has got to change and it starts with education and awareness, something the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign offers everyone in golf.

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Kenton Wright

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Kenton Wright

Head PGA Professional and Director of Golf at Driffield Golf Club.

Ever since he was a young boy, Kenton Wright has loved the great outdoors, which has led to an enjoyable three-decade career as a PGA golfer. Just like many people, especially golfers, Kenton has been exposed to his fair share of UV light, and although he has never suffered from ‘extreme’ sunburn, he does admit to having had occasional, mild sunburn, with little regard for sun protection.

His melanoma story will I hope inspire you to take your own health a little more seriously, even if you think you are not at risk.

My story

In 2015 I noticed a small mole on my right forearm, very slowly increasing in size and shape. Initially I thought nothing of it, however on particularly hot days I’d make sure the area was well protected with sunscreen.

Over time I began to wonder whether to have it looked at; just a niggle at first, but the noise in my head got louder. So diligently, I made an appointment with my local GP and he checked it against a list of possible cancerous moles. Having decided it was worth a second opinion, I was referred to my local hospital, whereby the specialist removed it immediately and sent it away for analysis.

A few days later, I was asked to return to the hospital to be informed I had cancer – melanoma to be precise; the most dangerous form of skin cancer, which if not treated early can travel from the skin to all other areas of your body. Not a great day.

After trawling the internet, I informed myself with the facts on how this cancer works, how aggressive it is, how common its becoming, and how it can be mostly avoided by simply using sun protection and avoiding sunburn. How I wished desperately I’d been more careful.

Surgeons began by removing a larger area to make sure the cancerous skin was completely clear. None of the procedures were particularly uncomfortable, but it was an uncertain and stressful time for both myself, and my family.

On recognition of my condition, I have had consultations with suitably qualified staff to ensure I had no further developing melanomas and to advise me on how I need to be more aware of the risks and also be mindful that it could return.

I now take a vitamin D supplement, use an SPF50 sunscreen and continue to have regular check-ups as well as checking my own skin, something I should have done years ago.

I consider myself lucky and so thankful for going to my GP when I did. Apparently, the skin has three layers and my melanoma had only penetrated the first; in other words, I caught it early, before it travelled, so effectively that trip to my GP saved my life.

My advice is should you notice a changing mole or are worried about a new lesion, take professional advice, immediately. I also recommend upping your game when it comes to sun protection – why wait until you get a cancer diagnosis to start looking after your skin?

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Craig Cotterill

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Craig Cotterill

Business Partnerships Manager at The Golf Club Managers Association

The work that Michelle and the team are doing at the Melanoma Fund is crucial in raising awareness of a threat that all golfers and greenkeepers expose themselves to, and on a regular basis.

I decided to become a Slip! Slap! Swing! ambassador because I have first-hand experience of melanoma, after losing my father to it back in 2003. Dad was a keen sportsman, and one of those golfers who always said; “I’ll be fine, I’m used to the sun” – words many golfers have either uttered, or heard before. However, despite numerous warnings from his friends and family, he chose to often ignore using sun protection, and ended up paying the ultimate price.

The fact is that nobody ever never really understands the impact of cancer until touched by it, and with incidence of melanoma tripling in men over the last thirty years, we are all vulnerable to this.

I was 29 years old, and I lost the most important man in my life to a disease which is largely preventable. Melanoma didn’t just take his life, it also impacted the lives of many other people, so for me this campaign is vital, and a positive way to hit back at a horrible disease.

I am delighted that the GCMA supports this campaign as it is important to golf. I believe that all golf clubs play a key part in helping to reach, support and engage with their members and staff, helping reduce the incidence of skin cancer within our sport.

By becoming Sun Protection Accredited, they can be safe in the knowledge that they are part of a growing community of organisations, taking the lead, providing positive messages to help keep skin cancer off the fairway. Why wait until it’s too late?

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Joe Cardy

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Joe Cardy

Creator and PGA Professional at CardyGolf.

Joe is a PGA Golf Professional running the brand CardyGolf, specialising in coaching, offering tuition from juniors to professionals. As an ex-player and the current Suffolk first team coach he understands how the issue sun protection in the sport needs a re-boot.

My story

During my career as a PGA golfer I clocked up years and years UV exposure, and only too well appreciate the importance of a good sunscreen routine. This, for which I thank my mum, was drilled into me from a young age, and it kind of stuck. For me it isn’t just about the threat of skin cancer, although that is obviously something I never want to experience, its about keeping my skin healthy, which many golfers, and especially men underestimate the importance of.

I agreed to become a Slip! Slap! Swing! ambassador as not only is the name pretty natty, it’s a campaign which needs to happen in golf. We all know that the sun dries your skin out, and you only have to look at those who spend lots of time on the golf course, to realise that a tan doesn’t do you any favours long-term. We also know that too much sun, and in particular sunburn can double your chances of melanoma, so to have golf clubs sending positive messages to their members and staff is a no brainer, and in my opinion long over-due.

Getting involved with this campaign has also made me review sun protection when it comes to my clients, as I also have a responsibility. As a coach I offer golf tuition for everybody from juniors and beginners to elite amateurs and fellow professionals. From now on, I will be asking them to bring sunscreen (and re-apply it), wear a hat and keep out of the mid-day sun if possible. As the Suffolk first team coach I will be passing this valuable advice onto my team mates.

If I can help save one person from wrecking their skin from a nasty sunburn, or worse, a skin cancer diagnosis then that’s fantastic. Skin cancer is preventable and all it takes is a shift in behaviour to have healthier skin and a better chance of staying out there playing golf for longer.

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Annabel Dimmock

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Annabel Dimmock

Ladies European Tour Professional Golfer.

Playing golf from a young age has made Annabel Dimmock aware of how important it is to sun protect, even on overcast and windy days. With many golfers underestimating the risks, she is keen to raise awareness of skin cancer to golfers, and how if can affect anyone.

Annabel honed her game with the help of the Wentworth Scholarship programme, and can now list the Junior Ryder Cup, Youth Olympics, Curtis Cup and Ladies European Tour winner among her many achievements.

Say’s Annabel; “I love playing in summer, it’s what golf is all about. Unfortunately I see too many people hitting the fairway without hats or sunscreen. Sun protection in the sport really is too hit and miss. A tan is still seen by many as a ‘trophy’, signifying how long they spend on the golf course.

Sure, it does appear to give the appearance of health and vitality, however, it’s actually a sign that your skin is damaged and if you continue, and occasionally get sunburned whilst playing, either in the UK or abroad, you are setting yourself up for early ageing and the dreaded skin cancer.

All we need to do is change our perspective on sun protection and look at the facts – namely that skin cancer is an epidemic, with incidence rising faster than all other cancers put together. I hope that if enough club’s get behind this campaign, golfers will be urged to re-think their habits. If you really want to tan, then fake it, because your older self will thank you!

I really don’t mind growing old playing golf, but I DO mind looking old before my time, and I know if I ignore sun protection, that will happen”.

The Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign is free, quick and easy to implement and helps protect golfers and the staff that spend lots of time outdoors from the risk of UV light. All clubs should sign up and get Sun Protection Accredited as this will help start a revolution in golf that will impact skin cancer. The question is if not, why not?

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Richard Payne

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Richard Payne

Director, Sports Marketing Surveys.

As a Director of Sports Marketing Surveys, Richard manages all key golf accounts including The European Tour, The R&A and The PGA; golf federations in major markets; and all major equipment manufacturers. A keen golfer and member of Princes Golf Club, Richard is passionate about promoting the importance of sun protection in golf, as well as the health benefits to anyone who will listen.

My story
I firmly believe that golf is the perfect sport for all the family and is the only sport that enables an 8 year old to compete with an 80 year old on a level playing field. At a time when public social health issues such as inactivity and loneliness are frequently warned about in the media, golf can play an integral role in getting people outdoors, socialising, and keeping mentally stimulated in a friendly (often competitive) environment.

I have been incredibly fortunate to play golf throughout the UK and in quite a few different countries as well as attend professional tour events on 4 continents and it blows my mind that even in the blistering heat and exposed sunshine there are so many people who still don’t apply sunscreen. The attitude of “I’ll be fine” or even worse “a little bit of sunburn will turn into a good tan in a few days” is frightening and even worse a terrible message to pass down the generations.

The more that can be done to raise awareness of the dangers of UV exposure the safer everyone will be. If golf is a sport for life then we need to look after ourselves while playing and protect against all the elements, not just put a brolly up when it is raining.

The Slip! Slap! Swing! Campaign is a fantastic, and much needed, campaign to educate golfers as far and wide as possible. With skin cancer being the fastest growing cancer, 90% of skin cancers being directly related to UV exposure and us having a simple, readily available mechanism (sunscreen) to prevent this, to ignore the advice is at best foolish. If my becoming an ambassador can help encourage more people to take sun protection onto the fairway, then the more the better.

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Rebecca Riddell

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Rebecca Riddell

Experienced Caddie.

Rebecca has been a caddie at Royal Dornoch Golf Club for the past 8 years. Having also played golf from a very young age, she is very careful to avoid a sunburn and feels strongly that all caddies – as well as golfers – need to be aware of the risk of skin cancer, due to the time they spend on the golf course.

My story
Being a redhead, my parents have always nagged at me to make sure I’m wearing sunscreen and proper sun protection, as well as seeking shade when possible. My fair skin tone means I am highly vulnerable to the effects of over exposure to UV light, which is something that does concern me.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been until recent years that I have truly understood how important this actually is, and how prevalent skin cancer is in the UK as well as globally.

When spending all day on the golf course sun protection is not always at the at the forefront of our minds, especially when focused on perfecting your swing, or your indeed your job. This is why I believe that it is so important that the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign is recognised in the golfing community as a must have resource, not just by players but by those who spend prolonged periods on the golf course.

When you play golf or work in the sport, it is typical to have specific routines, whether this be a pre-round warm up at the range, having a snack out on the course, or having a beer after the round. I believe that with a little effort we should all add ‘putting on sunscreen’ into that routine. It’s just a simple case of developing a good, healthy habit.

As a caddie we can be out on the course for two rounds a day, lasting up to 10 hours on occasion. I When I was a lot younger, I had my fair share of nasty sunburns while trying to get the perfect tan, and now realise it just wasn’t worth it. Our job is to focus on others, but there must be time we focus on our own health as nothing is as important as that.

The Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign is great and I am so happy to be involved. I hope that many golf clubs sign up to be Sun Protection Accredited its free, easy to do and benefits everyone, including caddies!

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Paul Way

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Paul Way

Former Ryder Cup and European Tour winner, Paul is happy to support a campaign aiming to make golf safer for everyone. Paul is the current course director at Nevill Golf Club in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, a proudly accredited club.

“Golf clubs are perfectly positioned to raise awareness of sun protection, and I urge them to sign up and get involved with this campaign, which really can help address the issue of skin cancer. They can remind players and staff about covering up just before they hit the fairway, provide sunscreen, advice and help encourage good habits, that will eventually, hopefully stick.”

Paul turned professional after playing for Great Britain & Ireland against the USA in the 1981 Walker Cup at Cypress Point Golf Club, and then went on to achieve success on the European Tour, winning the Dutch Open in 1982 aged just 19.

Heralded as one of Europe’s most promising young golfers, Paul represented Europe in the Ryder Cup in 1983, when he became the second youngest player up to that time after Nick Faldo, and again in 1985. He had an outstanding Ryder Cup record of six wins, two losses and one halved match.

Paul went on to win the 1985 Whyte & Mackay PGA Championship at Wentworth and the 1987 Panasonic European Open. Wentworth was the scene of Paul’s win over Sandy Lyle where a 66 on the final day saw him make a play off, in which he defeated the great Scotsman. In 2013 he began playing on the European Senior Tour after turning 50 and continues to play today.

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Dr Tony Buckland

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Dr Tony Buckland

Dr Buckland qualified at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1976 and has since practiced as a GP with an interest in minor skin surgery, in Royal Tunbridge Wells. As a keen golfer, he understands the importance of sun protection on the fairway, and how raising awareness of skin cancer is more vital than ever.

My story
As a member of two golf courses; including Nevill Golf Club in Tunbridge Wells, I often see golfers, who are playing their rounds in the sun, without having applied sunscreen. Before playing a golf round and when socialising, I very frequently notice red lesions, particularly on faces and arms, often with dry skin scales (actinic or solar keratosis from sun damage). I also quite regularly notice individual skin tumours, particularly on faces, marks that people over time get used to seeing in the mirror.

All three main skin cancers are on the increase with rates rising faster than ever, so I am delighted to help support the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign. It is important not only to remind people of all ages about sun protection, but also to encourage them to get to know their skin; checking moles for signs of change, monitoring any new or existing lesions and ensuring they visit their GP if at all worried.

I am kept busy excising basal cell carcinomas (low grade skin malignancies which erode the skin locally) and some squamous cell carcinomas (more serious as can spread to other parts of the body). I also diagnose a few melanomas each year (much more serious as they can spread, and if left too late can be fatal) however, these are dealt with by specialist centre.

Please do think hard about sun protection before starting a golf round or if you are spending the day working on the fairway. Skin cancer is preventable, and a diagnosis is an awful thing to receive, and give, so make sure it isn’t you.

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