SLOAN COLUMN: Golf a grand way to avoid coronavirus?
As if all the duffers and hackers out there need another reason to grab their clubs and make a b-line for the nearest links.
It appears the game of golf may be just the thing to escape the coronavirus madness that has staked its claim to our sanity. According to a columnist from the United Kingdom and an infectious disease expert from deep in the heart of Texas, playing a round or to could prove quite beneficial in avoiding and warding off the dreaded COVID-19.
Someone shared with me a column written by Martin Dempster that was recently published in The Scotsman, one of Scotland’s largest daily newspapers. In it, the veteran journalist offered some of the thoughts that had crossed his mind while meandering through 18 holes on one of Edinburgh’s fabled courses.
“To me,” Dempster wrote, “golf has to be one of the safest places anyone could be at the moment and, by the sounds of things, the medical experts are of the same opinion.”
A few paragraphs later he backed up this claim by sharing the views of Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
The game has “built-in social distancing,” Troisi pointed out in an interview with Golf Digest. “Rarely do you ever find yourself crowded or with someone in your face on the golf course. And, of course, the maximum number of players you can have in a group is four.”
She went on to explain that since “sunlight and other environmental conditions can kill viruses like this, it is probable that that is true for this novel coronavirus, as well. So I would say in the actual playing of golf, you’re not at much risk.”
Dempster closed out the column by stating that he thinks spending time in the fairways and on the greens may be the cure to what ails you.
“At a time when an antidote is badly needed, golf can be just that,” wrote Dempster.
So there you have it.
I decided to give Florence Country Club Golf Pro Steve Behr a call and see what he thought about golf being a viable vacation from the virus option.
Behr, who has been with FCC for 22 years, chuckled and said, “It does makes sense.”
He said things were about normal in regards to the number of golfers teeing it up since the virus began wreaking havoc a few weeks back. I had thought maybe the numbers might be a little higher since more and more people are being told not to go to work, but apparently that’s not the case.
Behr did say FCC has taken some precautionary measures, such as additional hand sanitizing stations, removing rakes from all sand traps, requiring pins to be kept in place at all times, and installing raised holes so that no one has to reach in to remove their ball.
I don’t know about you, but I would be far more affected by the missing rakes than the raised holes.
Golfing is definitely not my game. I’ll take a Louisville Slugger over a Ping G400 Max driver any day. Oh, how I do miss baseball. But give me the option of scurrying around the rough looking for a dimpled Titlist on a sunny day or fighting the chaotic crowds and lamenting over the lonesome shelves at the local grocery store and see what happens.