A spot of trouble

July 22, 2011

Although many golfers enjoy an occasional round with a bit of wind and rain to test their skills, most of the game’s players are predominantly fair-weather participants.

Years of enjoying the sun out on the course carries its own risks, however, which can be years in the making. Recently I was forced to deal with one of those risks, in the form of a tiny spot of trouble on the right side of my face.

The folks at Cape Henlopen & Nanticoke Dermatology were very nice, but also pretty matter of fact about this little dot. Shortly after noting its existence, they shaved off a sample and sent it off for a biopsy. The results came back as they expected - a basal cell carcinoma, the result of sun damage to the skin.

A week or so later, I returned to their offices for a Mohs surgery procedure. After the area was numbed with Lidocaine, Dr. Mitchell Stickler removed the dot and a small circle of skin surrounding it.

The edge of what was removed was then color-coded for identification, treated with chemicals, and frozen. The skin was then sliced into thin samples for analysis aimed at verifying all of the cancer had been completely removed.

Once he confirmed that the surgery was a success, he sewed me up.

For many years, I’ve worn a hat while playing golf and used sunscreen in the early months of the golf season. It’s also been a very long time since my tan lines have been anything other than a dead giveaway about my time on the links. Nonetheless, years of sun exposure can lead to basal cell skin cancers, as well as more serious skin cancers, even if you think you’ve taken all the appropriate precautions.

If you’ve been an active golfer but haven’t seen a dermatologist, consider making an appointment for a check-up. There are several such specialists in the Cape Region who can help you with this unwanted side effect of the game of golf.

Local club tournament results
The Kings Creek Country Club Ladies 18-hole group played a T and F tournament July 11.

In this format, the players complete a regular round. However, for scoring purposes they throw out any scores from holes with numbers that do not begin with the letters T or F. The first hole counts, but the second hole doesn’t, and so on through the full 18.

Anita Pettitt won first place in the first flight, with Kelly Ballantine in second and Luanne Zabytko in third. Linda Pini took first place in the second flight, followed by Rita Musi in second place. Prabha Karapurkar, Trish Galioto, and Melanie Periera tied for third place. Luanne Zabytko was closest to the pin on the eighth hole at 32-feet-4-inches.

Not to be outdone, the Kings Creek Ladies’ nine-hole group also competed in an unusual tournament format July 18. This one is called Two Blind Mice. In this game, everyone plays her own ball and keeps her own score. After the round, the club pro draws two holes randomly, and the scores on those two holes are thrown out. In the 18-hole version, it’s called Three Blind Mice, with three holes used.

Carol Ellison and Susan Spence tied for first place, with Susie Shevock in second. Spence also had the closest-to-the-pin result for the round.

Tee It Forward time
For the rest of this month, the PGA of America and the United States Golf Association are suggesting that golfers try a round or two from the next set of tees closer to the holes than they usually use. It’s part of an effort to speed up play, and also make the amateur game a little closer to the way that the pros play the game, by taking into account average driving distances.

I played a round from the green tees at Shawnee Country Club recently and enjoyed it. The course plays very differently in many spots, with just over 600 yards cut off from the normal white tee locations.

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