This nasty pandemic that’s changing how we are doing things across the world is certainly having an impact on the game of golf. While early on in the pandemic, golfers were taking to local golf courses to get away and practice social distancing, it’s quite the opposite now that most of the USA is in a situation where only essential businesses are open. In reaction to an article I read in the NY Times, I’m going to share my view on the way the COVID-19 is impacting the game of golf.
How is Golf Being Affected by the Coronavirus?
According to the article, penned by Bill Pennington, golf seemed like a safe bet a week ago (time of publication was March 24, yesterday), with over 6,500 rounds of golf recorded in New Jersey’s Somerset County prior to March 19th. This number represents a 300% increase over all rounds played in March the year prior, and with only a 19 day sample size. Pennington went on to write that a similar surge was recorded in other areas of the US, with golfers practicing social distancing and enjoying fresh air.
Of course, last weekend saw a large shutdown nationally which closed “non essential” businesses. Even in Somerset County, where there are closed golf courses owned by the nation’s President, Donald Trump. While there do indeed exist some golf courses that remain open throughout this ordeal, the majority are closed or are on the verge of closing.
When courses were open, there were measures taken to stop the spread of germs. This pic, courtesy of the NY Times, is one such example:
The article also talks about Fort Myers, just 100 miles west of me here in South Florida, which is a popular golf destination and also home to the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox Spring Training homes. Many tourists and fans flock to the Gulf Coast town and watch their team get ready for the season while enjoying one of the many golf courses offered in the area.
Many retirees continue to play golf over there, although the tourism has basically stopped, as have the Spring Training festivities. All major sports, including The Masters, are postponed until further notice. There are many cases of the coronavirus coming to the media in forms of popular athletes, and just last night, the Mother of Minnesota Timberwolves player Karl Anthony Towns was said to be in an induced coma from the virus.
The article also touched on the general attitude of golfers, saying that they complained less. (I assume they took more mulligans as well and gave each other some very liberal putts!)
Golf Events Affected by Coronavirus
The below events are officially Canceled
Players Championship (March 12-15)
Valspar Championship (March 19-22)
WGC-Dell Match Play (March 25-29)
Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship (March 26-29)
Valero Texas Open (April 2-5)
RBC Heritage (April 16-19)
Zurich Classic of New Orleans (April 23-26)
Wells Fargo Championship (April 30-May 3)
AT&T Byron Nelson (May 7-10)
Masters (April 9-12)
PGA Championship (May 14-17)
The US Open is in serious jeopardy. (Source.)
Nobody can predict how long this will last, or when golf courses will be back open. Here’s to it being sooner, rather than later.