Golf courses should be a safe place amid Covid-19 pandemic

We interrupt your regular (continuingly stressful) Covid-19 broadcast to finally bring you some positive news: it’s still safe to get out on the golf course (at least for now, anyway).

By Charlotte Ibbetson

I’ve reached the point where I can’t even stand to whisper the word coronavirus anymore.

It’s like Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter – it must never be named.

So it’s now more affectionately known as the c-word in my house.

But FINALLY we have some positive news. For now at least, anyway.

Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance responded to questions this week about the safety of playing golf amid the coronavirus. Responding “we’re not asking everyone to be completely isolated”, he went on to say that as long as you keep a safe distance, it should be ok to get out on to the fairways.

Dr Catherine Troisi, infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center also recently commented, “golf as it’s normally played – outdoors, with natural social-distancing built in – would be fairly safe. I would say that in the actual playing of golf, you’re not at much risk.”

Phew, finally some solace amid all the fear and uncertainty.

And it makes sense. Regular exercise will become even more important during this time – both for our physical health and mental wellbeing – and it’s been proven that exercise helps to boost your immune system. So, where better to do it than in the fresh air of the golf course?

But if like me you’ve turned into a complete germophobe, neurotically washing your hands every few minutes, you’ll want to understand what you can do to make sure we all stay virus-free.

Well, advice from the #KeepGolfOpen petition is to:

  • Always stay two paces away from other people
  • Leave the flag in when you putt
  • Smooth sand in bunkers with your feet – most golf clubs have already removed the rakes to make sure you don’t forget
  • Use your gloved hand to pick the ball out of the hole
  • Avoid shaking hands (enter the Covid-19 elbow bump)
  • Avoid using golf ball washers
  • Only use your own trolley, and wipe the handle before and after you use it
  • Avoid sharing equipment

Aside from the benefits of playing golf at the moment, I really think it’s important to support the industry as much as we possibly can – in fact, I have a burning desire to shout that from the rooftops.

I’ve worked in golf, travel and hospitality my entire adult life, and believe me, it is tough at the best of times. The only way the industry will survive the c-word pandemic is if we pull together. To be honest, that's the only way any of us will survive this. 

We need to make sure that golf clubs stay open, people stay in jobs and the game keeps growing.

Many golf clubs have diversified into so much more than just a golf club. They host weddings, parties, meetings and events, which all help to subsidise the day-to-day running of the golf club.

So here’s my plea: don’t cancel your membership or subscription, don’t cancel your event, put it on hold. And rebook when all of this madness is over. Golf clubs will close without our support. Thank you.

Support the #KeepGolfOpen petition 

Image credit: Andy Hiseman, Magic Hour Media

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Teeing up a golf ball

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