Golf courses were among the first businesses to re-open during the global pandemic. This was due to many factors but the main one being that it is really easy to practice social distancing on a golf course.
Golf courses have provided new safety measures that have been federally approved which will allow us to return to the golf course. While these safety measures vary slightly from club to club, they are generally the same. Keep your distance and don’t touch anything!
The lock-down has been tough in many ways, one of the least talked about is the impact to people’s mental health. Golfing has played a big role in many peoples lives in bringing back some sort of mental stability and sanity in this new world. It’s a truly great feeling to be on a golf course after being couped up for many months.
1) Understand the rules before you go
Some of the protocols that golf courses started to enforce are:
- Golfers must maintain a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) apart at all times.
- Refrain from arriving more than 10/15 minutes before their tee times.
- Limited use of cash to pay for round (many pre-pay options being provided)
- Maximum clubhouse occupancy of 4-5
- Separating entrances and exits through different doors
- Offering hand sanitizer and masks in front of the club house
- Restricting walk-ons, all golfers must require a tee time prior to arrival
- Limited power cart use – 1 golfer to a cart
- Sanitizing golf carts after rounds
- Sanitizing common surfaces regularly
- Flag poles can no longer be removed, and holes have been altered to facilitate ball retrieval without touching the cup.
- Closing all outdoor washrooms
- Removing ball washers
- Removing sand trap rakes
These measures were created to protect golfers and allow golf courses to safely open to the public.
Understand the rules before you go so you can focus on your golf game and not the safety rules for Covid-19.
2) Prepare your golf bag accordingly
I recommend keeping the following items in your golf bag on a permanent basis while the pandemic remains ongoing:
- Hand Sanitizer
- Face Mask
- Sanitizing Wipes
There will be times when you’ll be closer to other people than others as well as times when you’re more likely to be touching common surfaces. By having these items, you can ensure that you’re adequately protecting yourself from the virus.
Hand Sanitizer can be used when going in and leaving the clubhouse. I always bring my own just in case it’s not provided.
A face mask should always be worn when checking in for your tee time and while being near other people.
Sanitizing wipes can be used on many surfaces, but the best use is for cleaning your golf ball properly since there are no ball washers. Towels don’t always do the trick!
Another great use is – instead of avoiding touching lost golf balls in the woods, just give it a wipe and throw it in your bag! Sanitizing wipes can also be used for wiping down beverages such as beer cans that are purchased from the snack shack and have been touched by other people.
3) Avoid touching items found on the course
Some of the more common items have either been removed from play or restricted in some way such as bunker rakes, ball washers and the flag stick.
However, there are some items you may touch on the golf course that you may not realize are a higher risk. Some of these items include broken tees and lost golf balls.
It’s in your best interest to avoid touching all common items while on the golf course, and this includes stuff left behind by other golfers.
4) Avoid common areas when possible
Try to limit your time in public areas as much as possible when on the golf course. Some of the areas that are of higher risk include washrooms, the snack shack, the proshop, the clubhouse, and the restaurant.
Steer clear of these areas as much as possible and you’ll significantly decrease your odds of contact with the virus.
It’s important to understand that there are real threats to our health by going to the golf course, and it’s up to all of us to comply with the new rules created to golf during the pandemic. These rules were created to help protect our health while allowing us to get out of the house and have some fun on the golf course.