As a country we are facing a real change in our social circumstances. Many ordinary day to day things are being cancelled or done in a different way. We don’t have the answers to when we will be able to attend large events again or partake in many different sports but what we do know is golf is a sport which is normally played outdoors, with natural social-distancing built in and no real contact between the golfers. This has since been stated by Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Texas Health Science Centre.
There is a huge difference between the cancelled professional events and the social golf played by many throughout the world. A professional golf tournament can attract 25,000+ spectators a day and at least another thousand support staff, media, players and officials. This is nothing compared to a round at your local Golf Club.
You’re not in contact with many people and it’s not like football or rugby where you’re touching and in very close proximity to other players, so you could maintain several feet of distance between people. So, by playing golf, you’re at lower risk.
As much as Dr. Troisi advocates that golf is a relatively safe activity, given the current situation, she recommends changes in behaviour for golfers.
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. So if you can, enjoy the walk or alternatively travel alone in your own buggy
The golfing scientist and world number 13 Bryson Dechambeau is adamant having the flag left in, increases his chances of holing the putt. You now have the perfect reason to see if it works for you. 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.
Whilst having the flag left in is allowed in the rules, sharing clubs isn’t and it’s a good job as it isn’t recommended to handle someone else’s clubs. As much as it is a shift from the typical fellowship of a round of golf, when it comes to direct person-to-person contact, keeping to yourself and keeping your distance is still the correct and best way to go.
Forget about the 18th-green handshake, at least for now. Why not start a new tradition— club taps being the favored choice, show your respect for the game and your fellow players a different way.
Being indoors all the time can’t be good for you!
One thing to remember is that our immune systems do not work well when under stress. Golf, even at the hardest and most frustrating times, can and should be a de-stresser. This is a good thing.
“Social distancing doesn’t mean you’re being a hermit,” Troisi said. “Relieving stress helps your immune system and we know that physical activity boosts your immune system, so for both mental and physical health, it’s good to get activity however you can get it without putting yourself at risk. So, anything outside where you’re not putting yourself in close proximity to a lot of people can be good for you. Being in nature helps your mental health, as well.”
Less stress, physical activity, being outdoors, taking in nature. Perhaps hitting more practice balls on the range or even walking the course at night with a club and a few balls. Sounds a lot like the game we love. The main thing is to stay safe, be careful out there and think of others.
Also, make sure you check in on your friends. Ensure that they are doing well during the pandemic. As well as supporting yourself, it is important to support others especially if they are having to self-isolate. One of the hardest things about this is the mental impact it may have, ensure you communicate, check in and make sure they are safe.
Finally, some stay safe whilst on the course tips from PlayMoreGolf
- Book online, not in person
- Change your shoes in the car park
- Keep the flag in during play
- Skip the 19th for a coffee on the sofa
- Head home, thinking about that 1 good shot
- Wash your hands
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