Faversham Golf Club hosts charity day

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 10, 2022 10:15

Michelle Baker is the CEO of the Melanoma Fund and creator of the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign. Here she explains how working in golf has given her a passion for the sport, and how this year Faversham Golf Club hosted a golf day that raised both funds and awareness.

I was once told by a journalist that, working in the golf industry, I should either play very well, or not play at all, so I decided on the latter. However, every time I walk into a golf club, I feel a twinge of regret.

Not only do I quite like the whole swish of golf, but I also like the people in it, and the whole vibe around the sport, which is not what I expected at all. As a non-golfing woman, I thought I would be barely tolerated, especially as I was asking for money – albeit for a good cause. I thought members’ clubs would be difficult to navigate, expecting a fusty and frosty reception, but again and again, I have been proven wrong.

Three years down the line, and the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign, which promotes the importance of sun protection in golf, is flourishing. The sport is filled with professionals who fully understand how to do business, have fun and, most importantly, get why contribution is magic, which is a great space for any charity to be in.

Running the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign, I get to rub shoulders with pro golfers, the managers, the governing bodies, journalists and the golfers who live for the next fairway. Although it is a tough industry, as is most now, there is a shared passion and drive which creates incredible energy, making golf a powerful arena to be in.

I like to think of myself as a health ambassador in sport – encouraging better sun protection and skin checking awareness to help lower the ridiculously high levels of skin cancer in the UK, because if not, why not?

For this campaign to work, I need to get inside the mindset of golfers, explore their attitudes and habits and behaviours to create impact, as there is no point if our messages are falling onto deaf ears. To do this I must listen carefully and research my audience, and that means getting in front of golfers!

Faversham Golf Club

This year I have been lucky to do just that and have visited clubs and attended tournaments across the UK to talk about melanoma and our work in golf. I also work closely with the captains who have selected the Melanoma Fund as their club charity, including Phil Dott and Sheila Fullager at Faversham Golf Club.

Faversham is a members’ club with a tight knit community, where people tend to look after each other, play together, and socialise regularly, making this a perfect place for a charity to create relationships. I’m not one to hold my hand out for donations, I like to meet the people who support us, changing attitudes one person at a time.

This September, the club hosted our second ‘Slip! Slap! Swing! in September’ golf day, fielding 22 teams of four teeing off with an eye on winning the magnificent Harry Townsend Memorial Trophy, as well as some other incredible prizes. These were donated by our generous sponsors YUMAX Golf, Oak Compliance Marketing, GingerMay, Liquid Diamond, MotoCaddy, Callaway Golf and HowdidIDo – to help make this event not only fun, but exciting to win.

Skin check

To promote our work, we started the day with a skin check clinic, hosted by Slip! Slap! Swing! ambassador and skin specialist, Dr Tony Buckland, who as well as being a GP is a keen and regular golfer, who fully understands skin cancer in sport. Out of 12 people who presented ‘something worrying’ at his clinic, four were diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma, and given instructions to visit their own GP immediately.

Following this important message, the teams were watered, fed, depleted of some raffle donations, before heading out on a warm sunny afternoon to play some first-class golf, whilst the clubhouse became a hive of activity, getting ready to welcome the troops back for some après golf fun.

We were lucky enough to secure Ryder Cup winner Paul Way as our beat the pro player, and with nine players beating him on the day, there was plenty of happy faces, none more so than the night’s big winners, Team Downes, (comprising of Tim Downes, Tom Lee, Mark Stevens, and Sam Woolfe), all members of Faversham Golf Club.

The day ended with an auction that helped the day raise over £5,300, providing an event that didn’t just support a great cause, but helped make exceptional memories.

Say’s club captain, Phil Dott; “I am proud to be captain of Faversham Golf Club, and it’s great to work with and support the work of the Melanoma Fund. Everyone came together to ensure the smooth running of my charity club day. Special thanks go to my wife Kelly, daughter Beth and friend Jill Petts, general manager Paul Smith, and assistant general manager Jo Tandy, chef Kevin Riley, the bar team led by Jo Hadley and Paul Way. Final thanks go to our team of brilliant greenkeepers led by Rob Clark, for presenting the course in such great condition, and will continue to do so, for the lady captain’s charity day, again supporting the Melanoma Fund.”

For more information, visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk/slip-slap-swing

 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 10, 2022 10:15
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1 Comment

  1. Lefty November 19, 10:32

    Faversham GC’s friendship and organisation always comes to the fore and did so on this occasion for a wonderful cause. Without the likes of Michelle and her helpers in these “trying times” I am sure the cause would suffer the same fate as some other charities. Keep up the good work.

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