Coronavirus: Golf may be the perfect social distancing sport during the Covid19 outbreak

by Maura Hutchinson

*Update - On Monday, 23rd March 2020, England Golf released a statement on their website announcing all golf clubs, courses and facilities must now close, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.*

“Keeping golf courses open is simply no longer compatible with the updated policy of government which is designed to save lives in a time of national emergency.” - England Golf

With fears over the Coronavirus gaining traction around the globe, and many countries issuing policies of self isolation and social distancing, is it possible to still play a round of golf this spring?

The PGA, LPGA, European and Ladies European Tours have all suspended play for the next few weeks, so does that mean no one can play golf? Most can agree professional golf has taken a harder stance on Coronavirus due, in large part, to the number of people needed to stage these events as well as the huge crowds of spectators they draw. These types of mass gatherings are now being discouraged, so it only makes sense for golf and other professional sports to take heed and proceed with caution.

But for us average golfers looking to escape the madness and get in a quick 18, golf might be the perfect way to practice social distancing and still get some exercise. Looking at a few local courses here in the UK this morning, they are still open and have available tee times. As the Coronavirus situation progresses, this might change as staff and greenskeepers could be taken ill or as the government decides on new measures to ensure protection and safety. If you are thinking about getting out on the course, it is important to take precautions and also check Government and NHS guidelines before heading out.

Things to remember during this time if you’re on the golf course…

  • If you or anyone you live with is feeling unwell stay home!!!
  • Skip the driving range practice tees.
  • Ditch the cart and walk the course.
  • Pack Hand sanitizer, and use it often!
  • Social distancing is described as staying 6-ft away from other people. So keep this in mind when you are playing in a group.
  • Staying on this trend, remember no handshaking. Try a casual golf clap instead.

  • Yesterday we were advised to forego any unnecessary social gatherings, so opt out of returning to the 19th hole.
  • Definitely call ahead and confirm the course is still open before rocking up.

In the event golf clubs start to close, try calming anxieties by getting a little at-home practice in. From putting and chipping mats you can use in the garden or house, to the handy PuttOut Pressure Putt Trainer, there are loads of ways you can improve your game and have fun during this stressful time. You can even get the whole family involved if you’re quarantined.

Golf Coach James Richard also posted on Twitter that he and his business partner are looking at ways to bring you videos you can practice at home in an effort to help people stay positive during this challenging time.