During this time of economic uncertainty and social isolation due to COVID-19, we know that many of our golfers would love to be out on the golf course as a way of reconnecting with the game they love, releasing stress, and getting a bit of social interaction. But is it safe to golf during COVID-19 and coronavirus? Is it even possible? Many states have closed golf courses as non-essential businesses, but others have not. Even where there is a statewide order to close golf courses, local ordinances may well override it, and allow courses in a locale to open. Or, where there is no statewide order, many courses are closed anyway, out of an abundance of caution for their employees and customers. So the only surefire way to know if your course is open is to call them.
If you are lucky enough to live near an operating golf course during the COVID-19 lockdown, how can you keep yourself safe? Of course, the safest path is to not leave your house. Next best would be to golf only with those people you are already isolating with. (Ask your spouse if they want a round!) But if you feel you need the psychological release (which helps your immune systems), golf is a good activity for being able to effectively maintain social distance. There are wide open spaces, so we encourage increasing social distance to greater than 6 feet, for extra caution.
Pay attention to situations where you would ordinarily come into contact with objects that others handle. No passing of tees, balls or clubs. Leave the flag in the hole. Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it every few holes. Wear gloves. Don’t use golf carts. You wanted the exercise anyway.
Also pay attention to areas where you may inadvertently violate your social distance, such as when teeing off or putting. Of course, riding more than one person in a golf cart (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway) would clearly violate social distance. And needless to say, avoid the clubhouse and, sadly, the 19th hole.
If you are playing in a golf league – or even having a social stress relieving game – one often overlooked place of risk is in the scorecard. If you are still using paper scorecards, then passing those back and forth, and to whoever is entering your scores, that is a risk that no one needs to be taking. Coronavirus can live for quite a long time on paper, and so eliminating that vector of transmission is good for everyone.
Of course, we recommend our golf league software as the best golf league management software to address this (of course, we are biased, but our users agree!). Using golf league software will not only protect your league members and administrators from the risk of passing coronavirus via outdated paper scorecards, but also brings all sorts of other benefits to your league, such as live realtime leaderboard updates, and the all-so-interesting automated calculation and allocation of prizes. How long is it taking you to figure out skins outcomes? Our software does it with the click of a button.
So in short, if you are lucky enough to have an option to play golf at the moment, and want to take advantage of it while still staying safe – these simple guidelines can help. Keep your distance, sanitize, don’t share anything – including old fashioned paper scorecards. Stay safe and happy golfing!