Updated on April 12th, 2021 at 08:29 pm
Golf is considered a low-risk sport when it comes to the Coronavirus, and golf courses around the globe started reopening with measures of precaution and strict guidelines. Even the PGA Championship that was scheduled for May finally took place in the first weekend of August. (Congratulations Collin Morikawa).
And that’s not all! The number of people becoming interested in learning golf is continuously growing, and some public golf courses are completely booked. The coronavirus pandemic has imposed such limitations to living normally, so golfing seems to be the way to live “normally” once again.
But, with the new COVID-19 cases spiking in some states to an extreme, golfers feel puzzled about whether or not it is still safe to play.
One of the Safest Sports to Play
Ok, it might not be 100% safe, but unless you break the rules and avoid obeying the protocols and measurements, then you’re on the safe side.
You might be wondering why golf is ranked the third on the COVID-19 safety scale, and we’ll explain.
Let’ s first start with the nature of the game. It is socially engaging (not as much any more), it is played outdoors, and it is limited to max four people who still can adhere to social distancing measures.
The fact that golf is played solely outdoors makes it a safe game. However, we all know how it goes when you are on the course. You meet your old buddies, a business partner, some college friends…the list is long. And this is where the danger lurks.
Reprogram Your Golfing Habits
Every golf club has its own coronavirus pandemic regulations in addition to the state-issued ones. So, if your golf club has opened its gates, make sure you familiarize yourself with the safety measurements.
Not that you used to book in person, but some golfers tend to just pop up at the premises, asking a whole bunch of questions before they finally schedule an appointment. Online is the new in. You’ll get the answers to all your questions there.
Before you leave your home, make sure that you’ve familiarized yourself with the COVID-19 protocol and have prepared well. This means masks, anti-bacterial hand sanitizers, anti-bacterial wet wipes, and sprays.
Make sure that you change your regular shoes to your golf shoes before entering the course, and if possible, try to avoid touching any surfaces. And in case you meet familiar people, keep to the recommended social distancing guidelines.
Wear a Mask
Don’t start panicking yet! You only need to wear a mask in and around the clubhouse or any time you interact with the staff. You don’t have to wear a mask while playing, even though it isn’t as bad as it might appear. The only problem is if you wear glasses as they easily fog up.
What You Must Carry in Your Golf Bag?
Water and Snacks
Being well prepared is not only advisable, but it is crucial to be able to play golf smoothly. Let’s start with the most need drink-water! Stashing your golf bag with several bottles of water is a top priority because courses have removed drinking stations to eliminate the risk of potential touch-points.
While serving food and beverages is mostly allowed, it is limited to outdoor seating, or take-out only and with limited menus. But, bear in mind that beverage carts are no longer available in most courses throughout the course. So, in addition to bringing water, make sure you’ve packed yourself that go-to six pack!
Even if you completely distance yourself from everyone else on the course, there’re numerous situations where you might be tempted to touch a surface or interact with a person. Plus, you’ll be playing with your golfing buddies, and that means occasional interaction as well. Applying a hand sanitizer after each interaction or after touching an object’s surface (flagpole, ball, tee) is a matter of precaution.
More Tees and Balls
In case you run out of tees and balls, it wouldn’t be advisable to borrow from a playing partner as that increases the risk of being potentially exposed to the coronavirus. Plus, with golf ball washers removed from the courses, an extra sleeve or two of golf balls is more than necessary. As it often happens, tees are the most borrowed items on the course, but forget about that either! Just grab an extra handful of tees before heading out on the greens.
Other Things to Consider
Riding with Another Golfer is Also a Risky Thing to Do
And that’s understandable! Being together with a few people without the recommended social distance is an open gate for the droplets to travel from one to another person. This is why riding has been limited in most areas to one person per cart, except for the same family members. This also means that finding an available golf cart is very unlikely, so consider a carry bag or a pushcart instead.
Forget about Rakes
Playing from the sand is an unwanted situation on its own, but when faced with reality, you need to give that shot a try. Since courses have removed the rakes as it is one of the coronavirus pandemics’ ultimate measures, you need to use your creativity. The most commonly used technique nowadays is using your shoes. Take note that there are mini rakes that you can buy on Amazon, and there are even golf ball retrievers with rakes attached. It is important to note that USGA local rule does allow free relief in bunkers in abnormal conditions, and the current state with the COVID-19 pandemics is more than abnormal.
Six Feet Social Distance is a Must
The general coronavirus pandemic measures apply to the golf course as well. While fairways are wide enough to easily maintain a six-foot distance, the tee boxes and the greens are a bit limiting.
The general advice is to take the tee box one by one and wait until the golfer in front of has stepped off. When putting, each player continues until he/she has holed out. Touching and moving the flagstick is not allowed, so leave it.