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Is It Safe To Play Golf Amongst The COVID19 Times?

The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind to say the least. COVID19 has made us really think about good sanitary habits for not only ourselves but for people who may come in our presence. There is a place for these habits to continue on the golf course as well. The below information summarizes the basic health practices to follow (from a Golf.com article) while out on the course according to Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in which is worthy of being shared.

-Skipping the driving range. Stretch & practice your swing in an open area, Give yourself a few strokes on the first hole.

-Avoid handshakes/High fives throughout the round. Try elbow/foot bumps, bow, or club taps.

- Bring hand sanitizer in your bag/cart and use it frequently. Wipe down commonly touched areas on the cart and your club grips.

- Do not golf if you have a ‘head cold’ or are feeling sick at all.

-Practice social distancing on tee boxes, fairways and greens of about 6FT. Try to take your own cart to implement ‘social distancing’ strategy or just walk.

A couple other tips we have been hearing some clubs are recommending such as Fernandina Beach Golf & St. Johns Golf & Country Club:

-Pick up your putt when it's 6in from the hole. No need to reach in the cup. 

 (Image of what some clubs are doing to avoid reaching in the cup.(Photo credit: Warwick CC Head Professional Matt Walsh, via Twitter)

-Don't touch the flagstick. New USGA rule allows it to stay in anyway. 

-Book/pay your tee time online. Check to see if the club offers a check in method via cell phone. 

-Utilize the clubs take out services if offered

(Eagle Landing Golf Club | Clay County, Fl)

In another article by Golf Digest, Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Texas Health & Science Center & Houston mentioned, “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.”

We asked Owner Derek DiStefano of local St. Johns County, Golf Club at South Hampton, to respond to the precautionary measures they will be taking for the time being. This was his response: "With the new guidance from the CDC and government leaders, we are implementing the following new policies at The Golf Club at South Hampton.  Beginning today, we are only allowing an occupancy of 50 patrons in the dining room at a time.  We are also using a staggered seating policy, to ensure that our members and guests have a minimum of 6 feet between each party.  We have also suspended the use of water coolers on the golf course and on the practice facility, as a way of mitigating an exposure to any potential viruses.  We are continually wiping down tables, golf car steering wheels,  counters and menus throughout the clubhouse with sanitizer. We are also encouraging folks to take advantage of our To Go service, as a way of reducing your exposure to a larger group of folks. This can be accomplished by calling the restaurant at 904-287-7529, and selecting the prompt for the restaurant. If you are feeling ill, please call the Golf Shop, and cancel your tee time reservation. It is best for you to stay home and rest." 

As of March 15, 2020, Government, Golf Clubs and various associations have been giving advice about safe practices, and whether courses should be open during this time or not. It is apparent that this situation could change in a day, week and month’s time so have fun, be precautious & please stay informed with the CDC and your local clubs for updates on operation status! You can also check our our page here sharing some local club statuses. This page is updated as much and as quickly as possible. 

Reference: Golf.com Article 2020 Piastowski/Dr. Cawcutt

Reference: Golf Digest Article 2020 Stachura/Dr. Troisi