It was golf, but not quite as I knew it
What It Was Like Playing Golf During The Coronavirus Pandemic
The world is in crisis right now along with nearly every industry, and golf is included in that.
Golf finds itself in a very strange place as the actual playing of the game is still completely within the rules set by the UK government, as things stand.
Latest: Coronavirus and Golf
The advice is to stay indoors when you can, especially if you’re aged over 70 or have underlying health problems, but for the healthy there is no harm in heading outdoors to get some exercise.
That is as long as you’re practising social distancing by keeping two metres away from others, which is something easily done out on the golf course.
Having spent my first week working from home, I was excited to head to the club and walk six or so miles after a week of basically spending 24 hours a day cooped up inside my flat.
The game hadn’t changed but there were some noticeable differences, as Golf Monthly had been reporting last week.
The practice putting green had no flags, the rakes had been taken out of bunkers, ball washers were out of order and there was strictly no touching flags on the putting greens.
The locker rooms were open but the bar was shut, after the UK government demanded that bars and restaurants closed immediately late last week.
Golf clubs are following advice from the government and governing bodies, and it has to be said that the clubs, staff and greenkeepers are doing a great job in delivering golf to their members and guests during these very difficult times.
We brought our own beers and drank them on the patio along with around 15 others all keeping their distances from one and other.
I’d guess we would have spent well over £150 collectively behind the bar and in the kitchen in the hour-and-a-half we were there.
That money stayed in our pockets and we can only hope that the club gets the government support that it will inevitably need.
It was a strange day but I am thankful to have golf in the form of the exercise and the mental wellbeing it offers up.
If you’re a gym member you can’t go, if you’re a cricketer you can’t play and I’m sure there are many other sports and activities that have been completely halted due to Covid-19.
Luckily golf isn’t one of them just yet.
If it were November, December or January now, I’d probably be calling for golf to be stopped, as no clubhouses plus cold, wintry conditions don’t make for the best experience.
However, the frustrating part of this is that the weather is beginning to turn.
The courses are starting to look and play great again after a couple of weeks without constant heavy downpours.
The clocks change soon so we’ll be able to play until around 7.30pm and beyond as the weeks go by.
This is what we’ve all been waiting for after a long, torrid winter.
It’s what we wait for every year but it feels like this winter has been a very long one, with many golfers probably thinking that they haven’t been getting value for money from their membership, but there’s nothing we or our clubs can do when storms and weather have been so extreme.
We’ve just had to ride it out, knowing that the summer will eventually come.
Let’s hope a summer of great golf can still be ahead of us, although that is completely up in the air right.
It has been a long and torrid winter for the clubs themselves, with many up and down the country being closed more than open over the past four months.
Their finances will have taken astronomical hits and, unfortunately for clubs and everyone in wider society, the worst is yet to come you feel.
Luckily for me and my club we’ll be alright, I hope, with a thriving and full membership, but for others it may be a very difficult summer.
You can’t help but feel that this is going to wipe out tens and tens of courses that were struggling to keep their heads above water anyway, but let’s hope that government measures will allow them to keep paying their staff and keep operating so that they’re still there when the good times come around again.
The NHS is writing to 1.5m people to essentially demand that they stay indoors for the next 12 weeks and many of them will be golfers who will go three months without walking the lush fairways, chatting to friends and playing the game in some great weather that we’ve surely got ahead of us.
Latest: Coronavirus and Golf
You have to feel for those people but their safety, obviously, comes ahead of golf.
I am worried that Saturday may have been my last round for some time, with rumours circulating that the government could put the country on full lockdown due to many not taking the social distancing measures seriously enough.
Who knows what the government will do or when it could happen, so I’d urge you all to safely head to your course, practice self isolation and enjoy the fresh air and the challenge the game offers up.
Have you been playing golf during the Covid-19 pandemic? Let us know on social media
For all the latest golf news, check the Golf Monthly website and follow our social media channels @golfmonthlymagazine on Facebook and @golfmonthly on Twitter and Instagram