Golf Reacts To Keep Us Playing
The Players Championship was cancelled, The Masters is postponed, and The Open and Ryder Cup are in doubt, as professional golf responds to the coronavirus pandemic. But regular, everyday clubs and governing bodies are doing their best keep us playing, getting onto the course and safely enjoying the benefits of social contact, exercise, and fresh air.
We have already seen Orchardleigh Golf & Country Club in Somerset, which is offering free golf – allowing people to book a tee time in advance before turning up and playing, removing the need to enter the clubhouse.
Earlier this week, we loved the ingenious solutions introduced by clubs and greenkeepers to reduce contact points, including turning hole cups upside down, raising them from the ground, and taking bunker rakes away from the course.
Brampton Park in Cambridgeshire has also brought in measures to keep its doors open to the public, as showcased in this feature from Sky Sports, including an interview with Owner & Managing Director, Richard Beadles.
?? Should private and public golf courses remain open for people to use?pic.twitter.com/ewVYpNZJxN— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) March 20, 2020
Elsewhere, there have been innovations designed to engage with kids and families on social media, with Scottish Golf unveiling a Virtual GolfSixes Challenge amid the closure of schools. Launching daily challenges for children, starting with designing the logo for their dream golf course, the game is working to keep those who can't play occupied.
And they aren't alone when it comes to challenging the artistry of youngsters.
??Keep your kids entertained in isolation ???? ????— Tom James Golf (@TomJamesPGA) March 19, 2020
At @GolfLeicester we are tag teaming with @golfingdays to run a “design your own golf flag” competition for kids. ????
The winning design will win a 30 minute golf lesson with myself and there own flag ??????????https://t.co/2qAEF7CMWN
It's understandable if you are feeling overwhelmed by this unprecedented situation and the wave of information that washes over us hourly, but if you would like to seek respite on the golf course, England Golf has revealed a number of considerations to be mindful of:
- Indoor, social aspects of golf club life should be curtailed based on expert advice on social gatherings
- Golfers suffering from or showing symptoms of the COVID-19 infection must self-isolate and stay away from their golf club. The length of time spent in self-isolation should be in line with government recommendations
- Vulnerable groups or those with underlying health issues should heed government advice to self-isolate
- Golf clubs should prominently display public health posters available via the NHS England website in all washrooms and at entrances to the course and clubhouse. These posters should act as a reminder to follow the 20-second handwashing techniques recommended by Public Health England.
- Golf clubs should consider installing extra hand sanitizers around their facility, on or near teeing areas and practice areas
- To minimise social contact in locker rooms golfers should be allowed to change shoes in the car park
- Golf club staff and volunteers – while taking precautions for their own health such as wearing protective gloves – should carry out regular cleaning of surfaces and door handles used by patrons. Where possible doors should be left ajar
- Cash transactions should be avoided and card payments encouraged
- Clubs may wish to offer a takeaway service for food to minimise the need for social contact
- On the course, golfers should try to maintain a minimum distance of two metres between themselves and playing partners. Take care to adhere to this on teeing grounds and greens
- Golfers should consider playing in smaller groupings – ie two balls – to adhere with social distancing
- Clubs should consider increased spacing between tee times to prevent the bunching of groups
- Golfers should leave the flagstick in the hole at all times and clubs should remove rakes from the course to limit the risk of infection spreading from hand to hand.
- Buggies should be for solo use only and cleaned after every outing. Golfers should only use their own trolley and clean it after every round
- Common courtesies – handshakes and embraces in accordance with the accepted etiquette of the game – are to be avoided. Offering a thumbs up or some other form of friendly greeting should be used as an alternative
- Golf clubs should desist from holding group coaching sessions. Careful consideration should be given to individual coaching based on expert advice on social distancing
- Greenkeepers should remove pins from practice putting greens
- A review of how practice balls are dispensed and cleaned is also recommended
So, if you want to play golf, providing you take sensible precautions, then you should head out and make the most of the time.
However, if you are self-isolating or don't feel comfortable visiting the course, we have just revealed our new Get Golf Fit Tuition Series, which presents a range of golf related exercises that you can do from home. Sign up for the series in full, or check out Week 1.
As always, on Golfshake, we want you to Play More & Play Better, but we also want you to Play Safely.
Thanks to the authorities and venues across the country, that is being made possible in these anxious times.
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