Creative coronavirus cupping is a Cool Golf Thing

Superintendents think outside the cup.
Superintendents are golf's MacGyvers.

Superintendents are the too-often-unsung heroes of the golf world. But their labors are, at the most basic level, what enable us to play golf on a daily basis. Even, it turns out, in the midst of a creeping global pandemic. As major institutions of authority and governments from the federal down to the local level make difficult decisions about what aspects of daily life - education, commerce, industry and other services - must be put on hold in order to "flatten the curve" of coronavirus contractions, hospital stays and deaths, golf is naturally one of the things under threat. Yes, it offers plenty of space for "social distancing," but as official statements continue to slim down the number of people allowed to congregate together outside of homes, several golf facilities have closed for the foreseeable future.

Others are trying to stave off closure as long as possible, and as usual, superintendents are central to the solution. At Blue Ridge Shadows in Virginia, what appears to be a slice of foam pool noodle has been placed at the bottom of the cups to elevate holed balls, making them easier to pluck out. At Tellico Village in Tennessee, cups have been placed upside down in the holes to similar effect. PVC piping is superintendent Bill Irving's solution at Wolf Creek Golf Club in Kansas.

Other supers, including Rob Dorsch of Richter Park Golf Course in Danbury, Conn., are elevating cups above the surface of the ground, turning holes into bumper targets. This will keep hands (and germs) off flagsticks. Golfers: keep playing and putting as usual, but if your ball strikes the protrusion and remains within a clublength of it, the ball is considered holed. The only question is, do holes-in-one made under these conditions count?

1 Min Read
March 13, 2020
The grind never ends.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
7 Comments
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To answer the concern that your ball, that you just licked, touched the bottom of the hole, and now, my ball has touched the same bottom, well, I'm not too concerned. I assume that any guy who can lick his own balls doesn't get out of the house to play golf anyway.

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how does any of this help stop the spread of covid. overkill anyone? my ball which i just licked to clean touched the foam and now your ball touched it. OMG shut down everything

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My club has got inverted plastic cups with the only half holed, what is the situation if the ball hits the plastic and jumps out of the hole ? This has happened to me with an 18in put poping out.

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One of our local courses has taken the wiffle-ball you sometimes see to denote front/center/back of green and dropped them to the bottom of the flagstick. The wiffle-ball goes into the cup. It allows the golf ball to drop below the edge of the cup, but pushes it away from the center where it's easily retrieved. Brilliant!

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Our club, Rock Barn Golf and Spa in Conover, NC, has turned the cups upside down. This allows for the flag and a short fall into the cup. The ball is easily retrieved without touching anything but the ball.

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Just curious regarding the posting of scores while playing under the "elevated cup" scenario. It seems to me that a score played under this condition should not be posted for handicap purposes.
I have not seen a ruling from the USGA or any dialogue on this issue and assume that the score would not be a valid score for posting purposes.

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The USGA has advised this is OK.

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Creative coronavirus cupping is a Cool Golf Thing