How one golf course is reopening — with 14 strict coronavirus restrictions.
None of this is simple, of course. To the anti-golf eye, playing 18 in the time of coronavirus is selfish and unnecessary. Surely it's the easiest thing to give up, the least essential of all non-essential businesses.
But the golfer may argue (and many have, and continue to do so) that golf is actually the perfect game for these times. No forced contact. Plenty of open space. Doctors encourage exercise and fresh air — if played carefully, golf is probably less dangerous than walking or jogging with a friend.
That three-word caveat is where many courses, players and governments continue to get caught up: if played carefully. Many of us, however, have always played golf with unintended (and undesired) social distancing!
After making a request to the local governments, the Citizen-Times reports that Asheville Golf Club in North Carolina was allowed to reopen before the Easter weekend, finding it falls under the state’s list of “outdoor exercise.” Under a series of strict guidelines, which employees are required to tell players about when they book tee times and when they check in. Those rules, which must also be written on carts, include the following:
1. All players must stay at least six feet apart at all times, and a course ranger plus three other staff members will monitor player behavior on the course.
2. Preferred transactions are by credit card, and staff will wear gloves.
3. A maximum of six persons (staff included) will be allowed in the clubhouse at any given time.
4. Golf carts will be sanitized after each use.
5. One bag and one player per cart, no exceptions — even if multiple players share a household.
6. On-course restrooms will be closed, while clubhouse restrooms will be sanitized regularly and provide extra sanitized wipes
7. Players must not touch the flag pole and must leave the pin in at all times.
8. Cups will be raised one inch above the green surface, and any putts that hit the cup will be considered holed.
9. All rakes will be removed from the golf course. Because of that, players may place their ball whenever they’re in a bunker.
10. Ball washers have been removed from the course.
11. Water stations have been removed from the course.
12. No sandwiches or hot dogs — only pre-packaged beverages, snacks and candy is available to go.
13. There will be no indoor dining, seating or congregating.
14. No rental clubs will be available.
Couldn't these common sense rules be applied more widely? Of course, remembering that golf remains safe only “if played carefully.”
“Carefully” means following those rules, which still allow for plenty of latitude when it comes to enjoying the outdoors. It means continuing to enjoy so many of the good parts of the game that those of us stuck inside are jealous you’ll still get to enjoy. Just no high fives. No pulled pins. No drinks at the 19th.
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