Take a second to think about how is the current pandemic affecting your club? We have seen across the globe the different impact it has had on clubs and golfers. Forcing them to act more cautiously both on and off the course.
As a country we are facing a real change in our social circumstances, forcing people to act more cautiously with measures such as social distancing and self-isolation. Many ordinary day to day things being cancelled or done in a different way. As well as this, we have seen how many clubs have been affected by this, including closures in European countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Texas Health Science Centre, advocates that golf is a relatively safe activity. Given the current situation, she recommends changes in behaviour for golfers. In the UK we are lucky that our courses are remaining open for the time being. We all know that golf is a sport which is normally played outdoors, with natural social distancing built in and no real contact between the golfers. However, there are still preventativemeasures that can be taken to ensure the safety of your golfers and staff.
Let’s look at some initiatives that can be put into place at your course today:
Avoid players removing the flagstick. The golfing scientist and world number 13 Bryson Dechambeau is adamant having the flag left in, increases his chances of holing the putt. Golfers now have the perfect reason to see if it works for you. One other thing you could try, which the greenkeepers at St Annes Old Links have done, is to place fitted cups upside-down. When it comes to flagsticks, another thing that you can do is remove them all from practice putting greens.
We understand that one revenue generating area of your club is the clubhouse. If yours can remain open, then why not consider removing tables or introducing the same social distancing guidelines with space between tables. You could also try staggered seating or even open spacious areas of the property such as function rooms. This allows you to ensure golfers keep a good distance from others. You can also limit or cap the number of people allowed in at any one given time.
Worried about handling money? Make payments contactless and if you are lucky enough to have some, fit hand sanitiser units inside your clubhouse. You can also only allow online bookings.
Prior to rounds, locker rooms should be closed, meaning that players avoid being in close proximity of one another. Instead they should be allowed to change their shoes in the car park.
The use of a golf buggy adds to the experience for many, but it does put you with the 6-foot zone of your playing partner. If buggies are being used at your club, ensure that they are not shared and are wiped down after use or even encourage golfers to walk the course.
Take away rakes in bunkers or label them as GUR. By doing this it will mean players can avoid touching rakes.
Forget about the 18th-green handshake, at least for now. Why not start a new tradition—elbow bumps, shoe bumps or club taps, golfers can show their respect for the game and fellow players a different way.**
Touching an infected surface does not give you COVID-19. Touching an infected surface and then immediately touching your face is the problem. The virus travels through the viral droplets from a sneeze or cough and gets in your cells through the nose, ears and mouth.
How PlayMoreGolf are helping golf clubs and golfers across the nation
Here at PlayMoreGolf, we are holding regular support calls with clubs across the UK on best practice guidelines and what impact they can have on not only safeguarding their business and revenue streams, but their employees and golfers as well. One key piece of advice is to stay positive during these times, employees and golfers will look to you for this.
As well as holding support calls, we are working closely and in conjunction with the GCMA. Ensuring to support clubs over this time, whether that be with membership renewal or new membership concerns.
One noticeable change that some clubs are currently taking is enforcing member golf only. Meaning they are not accepting green fee or pay and play golfers. Could this be something you could roll out at your club?
We stand shoulder to shoulder with you and our aim over the forthcoming weeks and months is to support, assist and guide clubs through this uncertain period as best as possible. Our calls are not just limited to our partner clubs, we are here to help any golf club that have any concerns. If you would like discuss any concerns or receive general advice please feel free to give us a call on 0330 555 6555 and select option 3.
Finally, some stay safe tips from PlayMoreGolf you can share with your golfers
- Book online, not in person
- Change your shoes in the car park
- Keep the flag in during play
- Elbow bump on the 18th green
- Skip the 19th for a coffee on the sofa
- Head home, thinking about that 1 good shot
- Wash your hands
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*Update* - Social distancing is key, so ensuring you are not in a close proximity to others is also. When it comes to showing your respect for the game and players, don't get too close. The current favored method is a simple club tap.