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PGA and Cancer Council join forces

Saturday 14 February, 2015

The PGA of Australia has launched a new community partnership with Cancer Council, aimed at supporting the charity's messages of research, prevention, support and advocacy.

The official announcement was made on Friday at the Victorian PGA Championship at Huntingdale Golf Club.

The partnership aims to educate the Australian golf community on cancer risks and change unhealthy behaviours, with a view to creating a national legacy and an example for all sports.

The PGA will also encourage its network of PGA Professionals to fundraise on behalf of Cancer Council throughout the year; building on golf's already substantial contribution to charity.

Brian Thorburn, Chief Executive Officer of the PGA, said the Association was motivated to partner with Cancer Council for numerous reasons, including some very close to the hearts of PGA Professionals.

"This year numerous personal battles have emerged from within our membership and highlighted the need for all of us to increase our level of awareness and action when it comes to the fight against this disease," said Thorburn.

"Several of our members have and continue to fight their own battles with the disease while others are doing their best to support their peers and loved ones through fundraising activities."

"Through this partnership we hope to extend our game's potential to make a real contribution to the cause."

Whilst the program will aim to educate the golf community on numerous fronts related to Cancer Council's core programs, the organisation's SunSmart message will be a key focus of the partnership.

Cancer Council research released in 2013 revealed that Australians are at the same risk of becoming sunburnt at sporting venues as they are at the beach.

With the average golfer spending approximately four hours in the sun for every round of golf played, golfers are one of the high risk communities for skin cancers in Australia.

Each year, about 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer, with two in three Australians to be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70 - alarming statistics for any golfer.

"The PGA is committed to making a real difference within the community, at the same time setting an example for other sports. We also hope to use this partnership as a way for the PGA to engage in a meaningful way with other groups, encouraging wider support and promotion of the cause across the industry."

"With 2,800 PGA Professionals and over one million participants, golf is one of Australia's most popular sports and it is critical we play our part in communicating this important message," added Thorburn.

Cancer Council Victoria Chief Executive Officer Todd Harper welcomed the new partnership with the PGA.

"One in every three cancers can be prevented - and there is more that we can all do to cut our cancer risk. We are looking forward to working closely with the PGA of Australia on how golfers can make simple, every day changes that will cut their cancer risk and set a great example for the wider community," Mr Harper said.

The new partnership will be executed by the PGA's National Office in Melbourne who will be working closely with Cancer Council Victoria and PGA Professionals nationally to engage the golf community with the program.

It is hoped that over time the partnership will evolve to incorporate other key projects, with golf-specific research and wider-industry engagement both potential extensions.

Anyone wishing to find out more or support the program should contact either Cancer Council Victoria or the PGA.