Health Benefits of Playing Pandemic Golf
January 22, 2021
From scratch golfers to weekend duffers, life during the pandemic seems a lot better once you are on the golf course. After all, people can only stay inside for so long and golf is a great outlet to restore normalcy during these stressful times. Most golfers understand the importance of staying home and social distancing during the coronavirus lockdown but getting exercise outdoors and taking care of your physical health is important too. Playing golf is somewhat unique as the course provides plenty of wide-open spaces. Moreover, if you do not share any equipment including a golf cart, you greatly reduce the chance of transmission. According to the medical experts working with the Professional Golf Association (PGA), the diligence and commitment of course operators and golfers can make a tremendous difference in enhancing everyone’s safety. If you need to get outside and exercise, now is a great time to grab your sticks and find a course that is open in your area.
9 Tips for Safe Play During COVID-19
In alignment with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the PGA created Back2Golf Guidelines, a comprehensive plan for course operators and golfers. The 3-phase program outlines the steps needed to allow for individual and group play as well as what the New Normal should look like. Listed below are recommended tips golfers should observe:
- Purchase balls, tees, etc. before you head to the course. This will allow you to spend less time inside the pro shop.
- Many courses have eliminated indoor food and beverage options. Nonetheless, bring your own water and pack a snack.
- Walking eliminates any contact you might have with surface areas inside and outside a rental cart.
- Use your own pull or push cart or have wipes handy to disinfect a rental unit. You should also consider purchasing a lightweight carry bag.
- Driving your personal golf cart is the safest option. Limit one golfer per cart to provide ample distancing.
- Adopt a new mentality around the tee and green. Do not pickup other golfer’s club, including your own playing partner’s.
- Leave the flagstick in place. This has become an acceptable practice for playing rounds during the pandemic.
- Many courses have taken away sand trap rakes. Be thoughtful and use your shoes to smooth sand trap divots.
- Avoid post-round handshakes or hanging out at the 19th Tee. If you have to celebrate a hole-in-one, do it outside and do not linger.
As golf courses advance from individual play to small group activities, minimal course setup using a moderate staff with no on-course amenities like open trash pickup is highly recommended. Once state, county, and municipal restrictions are lifted, precautionary measures will likely remain in place as everyone transitions to golf's NEW NORMAL.
Respect Course Risk Reduction Strategies
Until the pandemic is under control, golfers are going to have to move forward following “risk reduction” strategies. It is currently recommended that everyone follow the CDC Guidelines for Physical Activity, Sports, and Recreation, as golf course facilities reopen and move toward establishing a new normal for daily operations. As vulnerable individuals resume public interactions, they should continue to practice physical distancing and minimize exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical. Moreover, as a precautionary measure, lower-risk golfers should still minimize time spent indoors and in crowded environments. Since there are still a lot of unknowns with the spread of the coronavirus, any restrictions enacted need to be respected. With the threat of a resurgence of the pandemic due to new strains of the virus, now is the time to double down and enjoy a round at your local course today. After all, you are playing golf and as along as you are doing it safely, it certainly beats sheltering in place.