How Golf Saved Souls During the Coronavirus Pandemic

We are living in strange times. It doesn’t take a genius to make such a pronouncement, as life has been turned upside down and round and round in the past couple months due to the devastating impact of the so-called novel coronavirus, which has all the telltale signs of originating in China and spread throughout the world, forcing business shutdowns, stay-at-home quarantine orders and for lack of a better way to put it, pandemic boredom.

There are the cases, hospitalizations and deaths as well. This is what it’s all about. People going around wearing masks and maintaining six feet of personal distance from the strangers at the store. We don’t do it because we want to, or with many folks, a fear of contraction or dying. No, we adhere to the guidelines because it’s about caring and safeguarding our neighbor.

Thankfully, golf is part of the equation!

At my favorite local courses, business has never been so good. The club restaurant was shut down and unfortunately many of the staff furloughed until the “all clear” is declared, but the golf operation endured from day one. It’s amazing how much can be realized by dedicated professionals who know what they’re doing and serve not only because it’s a “job,” but also out of loyalty to membership and providing a service to people who badly needed a distraction in difficult times.

Simply put, golf is the escape we’re all searching for these days. While local attractions and stores and parks and playgrounds and swimming pools, etc., were closed to foster proper social distancing, the golf courses remained open. When faced with spending another set of hours staring at the walls or hitting the links, the choice was easy.

Not even a few shanked shots or lipped out putts bothers golfers these days. It’s not a stretch to say golf has saved the sanity of millions in the United States. As one of a handful of recreational activities that can be undertaken without close contact, golf was the answer to many prayers, at least in those states that allowed it to thrive.

Sure, there’s no shaking hands, no touching the flagstick or meeting with your regular golf group (at least the way it used to be) after a round, but once you leave the first tee it’s several hours of… freedom! For those who required an excuse to go outside, now they had one. It’s good for the immune system as well as the soul.

Jack Nicholson famously wrote (in The Shining) “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Now we know what he meant! Yardwork gets awful mundane when it’s the only thing to do.

It was suggested to me the other day that the coronavirus panic will serve as golf’s revival. It’s no secret the sport has gone through some tough times this century with courses closing for good and the land sold for real estate or… other purposes. Critics said golf is too hard to learn, too expensive, takes too much time and has been supplanted by more exciting and “hip” pursuits accessible to the attention-challenged younger crowd.

These gripes and observations will survive the crisis. Golf hasn’t changed…and it’s nice. But golf is better than ever before. We all know it now.

And yes, it’s true, the Masters was moved to November (?) and the U.S. Open and PGA Championship were pushed back into times of the year when sports buffs are thinking more about football and the World Series (assuming their seasons even exist) than major championships. The Open Championship was canceled for the first time in how many years… that’s bad. But golf at your local course will still be there. That’s good.

We’ve learned a lot about ourselves in the past several months, including how much our family and friends mean to us. Deprivation always brings a renewed sense of appreciation for those things we’re (temporarily) unable to enjoy. Here’s to spending many more good times with those dear companions out on the golf course.

It’s a spirit not even a pandemic could destroy.


Related Links   Comments on this article?
Maryland National Golf Club
Hollow Creek Golf Club
Rocky Gap Resort
PB Dye Golf Club in Ijamsville
Whiskey Creek Golf Club
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