It's all a bit doom and gloom out there but golf, at club level anyway, is battling on best it can. So take advantage and get some alone time in
If you are self isolating and lucky enough to get out to the course in the coming weeks then try and use it as your lighthouse in all the current coronavirus gloom. See it for what it is, a bit of fun and some much-needed exercise…
1. The first measure should be to leave your phone in the car. For just a few hours stay off social media and all news stop filling your head with the unknown. Give yourself a break. Smell the flowers, feel the turf underneath your feet, and dominate your thoughts with your own inadequacies when you get a club in your hand.
2. Or even better just play golf. Don’t worry about the rules, don’t worry about the yardage, don’t worry about how many clubs you’ve got in your bag, and don’t worry about any swing kinks. Just try and enjoy the thrill of hitting a great shot and laugh off the others. Don’t lag putts, be positive. Nobody cares about the outcome, and none of this really matters.
3. There are all manner of games to play as a singleton to maintain your interest. My favourite is to play a greensome on your own – so you might have find a few more greens.
But, given this is an exercise in mental well-being and escapism, maybe keep things simple. And mark a medal card, off the tips. (Joke.)
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4. Anything can happen when playing on your own and you will come away from the experience thinking that, in some small way, you’ve cracked golf. With no prying eyes and nobody making a judgement on your skills then you will play with some sort of abandon.
If anything is good for kidding yourself that you’re better than you actually are it’s playing on your own.
5. Throw caution to the wind and, brace yourself, play a few holes differently to normal. That short par 4 where you always hit a nice drive then make a mess of the 60-yard pitch? Try hitting an iron off the tee and leave yourself a 7-iron in to make the par of your life.
And if you make double, again, then remember none of this really matters.
6. Most of us love a bit of company and the giggles that go into a round of golf but by self-isolating in a one-ball you do save yourself the bother of any small talk, job chat, kids chat, box-set chat and, best of all, unwanted swing tips.
7. Putt with the flag in. We’ve been talking about this for the past 15 months and now there’s no debate. There’s nothing to be gained from pulling the flag anyway and – say it with me this time – none of this really matters.