How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting recreational golf?

March 18, 2020
golfer walking alone

There are lots of questions about the state of the world these days. While we can’t provide answers to some of the more important questions, we can answer some questions about how golf can exist in our current reality.

Here are a few common questions and our best answers on how recreational golf will be affected in the coming weeks and months.

Should I feel safe playing golf right now?

With the information we have available at the moment, yes. But there should be some extra precautions taken when out on the links.

According to one expert, “Being in a wide-open, outdoor space is the least at-risk scenario.” But there are still certain cautious measures to take when on the course.

Close-contact transmission appears to be how the coronavirus is most easily spread. So instead of riding in a cart, maybe walk instead. Or if you need to take a cart, ride alone. This decreases the risk of close contact on the course.

The virus can also live on surfaces, so be careful with flagsticks and rakes. Luckily, under the new rules of golf, you can putt with the flagstick in with no penalty. The post-round handshake should also be done away with for now.

At the end of the day, stay informed on CDC guidelines and know how to protect yourself and others. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, no handshakes, etc. Beyond that, use common sense and play away.

Are some of the big-time golf courses staying open?

This situation is extremely fluid, so take this with a grain of salt. What is true today may not be true tomorrow or next week.

With that being said, several of the major golf resorts are still open for business, but with some extra safety measures in place.

Bandon Dunes – Open, but with additional safety measures in place, notably: “Our customary ‘handshake welcome’ with our guests will be replaced with a warm “hello” to limit human contact,” according to their website.

Pinehurst – Open, but there have been cancelations of non-golf related events in the village.

Streamsong – Streamsong is open. All Florida theme parks have closed, but for now golf plays on at one of the premier golf destinations in the Sunshine state.

Pebble Beach – Though Pebble is close to the Bay Area, which is experiencing some of the strictest lockdown measures in the country, golf is still being played on the Monterey Peninsula.

TPC Sawgrass – While you might have to play through the noise of grandstands being disassembled, you can still play both the Stadium Course and Dye’s Valley Course. Just don’t expect it to be cheap.

Does it make sense to disinfect my golf clubs?

Yes. Anything you are handling with regularity should be cleaned. Just be sure to wipe them down with disinfectant wipes. And maybe hold off on letting your buddy try your new driver for a while.

What can I do to improve my game if I’m stuck inside more?

You can always work on your putting stroke while stuck inside. And if you’re feeling especially ambitious, you can dedicate an area in your home as an indoor practice facility.

If you want a great compilation of specifics drills, check out this list of 10 indoor drills you can do while you’re stuck at home.

There are also tons of drills and exercises you can do at home. Focus on maintaining flexibility and core strength and by the time you’re back one the course, you’ll feel like you never left.

What are golf courses doing to be more health conscious during the outbreak?

We put together a compilation of creative methods courses are using to combat the spread of the coronavirus, but here are some highlights.

At Richter Park Golf Course in Danbury, Conn., the greenskeeper is cutting the hole and installing the cup one inch above the putting surface. If you hit the cup, consider the putt holed. No more risk of contracting the virus when picking your ball up out of the hole. An added bonus? No more lip outs.

As reported by our own James Colgan, play at Eisenhower Park municipal course on Long Island remains largely unchanged. There are still taking some extra measures for safety, such as making more hand sanitizer available and cleaning the carts more thoroughly.

And out in Wisconsin, Nine Springs Golf Course is instituting an honor box to pay for tee times. Players simply deposit their green fee in a box outside the clubhouse to pay for their round, minimizing close contact between players and employees.

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