Alex Perry couldn't believe what he was seeing over the bank holiday weekend. And that left him of the opinion that we're not ready to open courses just yet

Before I start, I want golf courses to open as much as you do. I am so desperate to play I’d gladly smash a fresh sleeve of Pro V1s out of bounds if it just meant being out there.

But it’s still too early.

Golf’s reputation is rarely in the black. During the lockdown period alone it’s taken a beating when the majority of clubs refused to open their land to the public for exercise.

If social commentary is anything to go by, the feeling among non-golfers is bemusement. Bemusement at why we can go about our middle-class pastime in a time when we can’t even hug our own family.

And too many are still not taking this virus seriously enough.

If you were watching the news on the anniversary of VE Day, you would have seen footage of huge gatherings of people waving flags and singing along to Vera Lynn with no social distancing in site. In one clip they were doing a conga. In another they were sitting in a line doing Oops Upside Your Head. Imagine catching coronavirus because you couldn’t resist the temptation to dance to a song that even wedding DJs are too embarrassed to play now.

The complete disregard for social distancing was happening on my very street, as well as hundreds, if not thousands, up and down the country. We celebrated a day that honours those who made the ultimate sacrifice by not being able to make a tiny one of our own.

And this is my biggest fear for golf.

Within minutes of the announcement that golf courses would be allowed to open from Wednesday, the WhatsApp group was popping off. “Playing alone,” one wrote, illustrating his frustration with the facepalm emoji, before adding: “Let’s just play in one-balls until we’re out of sight of the clubhouse and then we can join up.”

Facepalm emoji.

And while England Golf clarified on Monday you can indeed play in a twoball with someone from another household, that still wasn’t enough. “We want golf back but we want it back to normal now!” This was the clear message from golfers.

The minority will spoil it for the majority in all walks of life, and our beautiful game is no different.

We’re still in the middle of a global pandemic that’s killing hundreds of people a day on this island alone.

I could have waited a couple more weeks. And so could you.

So what do you think?

I put this question out as a poll on both Twitter and Facebook and had thousands of responses. And the results were unanimous:

  • Just 19% of you said golf courses are opening too soon
  • And the other 81% of said it’s the right decision to get them open

You’re still welcome to join the debate, either in the comments below or on Twitter.

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Alex Perry


Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

Handicap: 14

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