fbpx
from the clubhouse

It’s golf – but not as we know it: How our club has transitioned to a new normal

We’re all getting used to playing in a different way in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our club golfer documents his own club's flexibility
 

I putted out on the 18th, eschewed the traditional handshake – we joked about the elbow bump – and returned to the packed clubhouse.

The prevailing view, one I found incredulous even then but I’d spent way too much time reading about what was going on in Italy, was that this would all just blow over.

We had a laugh, we had a pint, we had some lunch, and we crossed fingers we’d done all right in the Stableford.

That was a week ago. Everything at my golf club has changed.

Qualifiers? Gone. The season was scheduled to start at the end of the month but we’ve basically thrown the competition calendar out of the window.

We’re hoping the campaign can start in earnest in July but, honestly, who knows? There’s a bare bones structure in place for the next few weeks – an odd medal here and a Stableford there like you might see in winter – but it’s skeleton at best.

I think many of us are just praying we’ll still be able to take to the course in a couple of weeks.

I’m part of a rules and competition committee that’s had to make some rather sweeping alterations to try and keep members and staff safe amid a conflict against an invisible enemy.

Here’s what normal now looks like for us – at least for the foreseeable future.

We’ll book our tee times online as we always have, but that’s where the ordinary ends.

Now, if we come to play in a comp, we’ll report to the golf team at the back entrance of the clubhouse, who will sign us in to the software. No more poking at a touchscreen for us.

We’ll pick up a scorecard from a bundle and one of us will enter the details for our group.

One card, one marker, one signature. Social distancing is, of course, the key. Staying two metres away from your pals feels achievable, if slightly unnerving all the same.

When the round is over, the marker will read out the scores to a golf team member who’ll input them. The card never changes hands. It goes straight in the box.

On the course, the rakes for bunkers are gone. If I find the trap, I play out of it and smooth it as best I can with club or foot.

It’ll be pretty old school and, after this, we might never complain about a footprint in the sand again.

Flagsticks are immovable objects. Basically, don’t touch them unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Our greenkeeping team have turned the cup upside down. The ball doesn’t sink to the bottom and neither do our fingers. It’s simple, but ingenious, and it is no wonder so many clubs round the country are doing the same.

If it all seems surreal, then you remember you are living in unprecedented times. And no one really knows how it is all going to turn out.

For now, all we can do is hope. Hope the sacrifices so many are making all over the world are enough to stem the tide of this virus. Hope we all come through it without danger.

And, though it matters so little in the wider scheme, hope we can continue to play this game we love for as long as we can.

Stay safe.

What is your club doing in the face of the coronavirus pandemic? Are competitions going ahead as normal? Is your handicap on the line this weekend? Have your say in the comments, or tweet me.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

Latest Posts

scratch golfer

The NCG Podcast

Why do scratch golfers make fewer mistakes than you on the golf course?

By

Read full article about Why do scratch golfers make fewer mistakes than you on the golf course?
georgia hall nelly korda

LPGA

Georgia Hall ‘can’t get her head around’ Nelly Korda’s dominance

By

Read full article about Georgia Hall ‘can’t get her head around’ Nelly Korda’s dominance

PGA Tour

Scottie Scheffler’s arrest under investigation by Louisville police

By

Read full article about Scottie Scheffler’s arrest under investigation by Louisville police

Learn from the pros

Xander Schauffele Golf Swing Analysis

By

Read full article about Xander Schauffele Golf Swing Analysis
Sergio Garcia

US Open

Sergio Garcia risks missing US Open after agonising playoff defeat

By

Read full article about Sergio Garcia risks missing US Open after agonising playoff defeat
Padraig Harrington golf betting tips

Betting Tips

Senior PGA and Charles Schwab Challenge – Our Golf Betting Tips

By

Read full article about Senior PGA and Charles Schwab Challenge – Our Golf Betting Tips

Buying Guides

The most successful golf balls at The PGA Championship

By

Read full article about The most successful golf balls at The PGA Championship

Shoes

Adidas Tour360 24 Golf Shoe Review

By

Read full article about Adidas Tour360 24 Golf Shoe Review

Driving tips

Driver Swing VS Iron Swing (Simple Differences)

By

Read full article about Driver Swing VS Iron Swing (Simple Differences)