Golf courses have always been a form of escapism, a place to file away your worries. I'm not sure how this applies to the world's current situation.
Like every other major sport, professional golf is officially on hold. Even The Masters has been postponed, a sure sign of the seriousness of the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Will everyday golfers self-quarantine, too?
As someone who works in both the travel and golf industries - two of the hardest hit during this pandemic - the uncertainty of it all is quite unsettling. Nothing feels normal. The world of golf isn't top of mind among the issues plaguing the country, although it's at least worth discussing the state of the game during this crisis.
Should you play golf?
I last teed it up March 11, the day before all the chaos ensued. The entire facility was packed - the range, putting green, par-3 course and regulation one. It was a welcoming sight, one that will likely be rare at U.S. golf clubs over the next month or more.
Large gatherings - sporting events, concerts, cruise ships and theme parks - are taboo in the current climate, but are foursomes still okay?
Earlier this week, Pasatiempo, the famous Dr. Alister MacKenzie course in Santa Cruz, Calif., sent out an e-mail to customers indicating its staff was doing extra cleaning, installing hand sanitizer stations throughout its buildings and had turned off its popcorn machine.
The Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golfing Union released a joint statement March 12 pertaining to recommendations for all Irish golf clubs. The guidelines include:
* Social aspects of club life should be avoided.
* Hourly cleanings of high-touch areas like doorknobs.
* A regular changing of towels.
* Discouraging visitor play or having a screening process in place.
* Canceling events with shotgun starts, which cause large gatherings before and after the rounds.
* Elbow bumps should replace handshakes and hugs.
All common sense stuff, but it's noteworthy that closing wasn't one of the suggestions. I don't know about you; I don't plan on hanging up the clubs as long as I'm healthy. With all the stress and newfound free time (with schools and youth sports canceling), I could theoretically play more. It would be wise to play locally, avoiding travel and supporting your own community.
Pro golf shutdown
Casual golf will go on in some form, probably on a smaller scale given that the older generation is more likely to stay home. Life on the pro tours is much more complicated. Postponing/canceling events felt right. Being a pro athlete involves all the public hassles of travel - hotels, rental cars, airplanes, Ubers, eating out in restaurants, etc. - that might help spread the outbreak.
Dozens of pro and amateur golf events have already been shelved or postponed, according to Golfchannel.com: the next five PGA Tour events; six LPGA Tour tournaments; five European Tour events; the NCAA Championships; the Monday after the Masters pro-am and benefit concert in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival, etc.
Will this lack of golf on TV - and sports in general - make your heart grow fonder for the game? I know I will miss it. It's time to hope for the best, and realize how good life can be when it's normal.
How will coronavirus impact your outlook on golf? Let us know in the comments below.