I now won’t be playing golf Thursday and Friday, despite what I wrote on this site two days ago. I won’t be playing Saturday and Sunday either. In fact, I’m not sure when I’ll play next.
Golf can wait for a few weeks, months even, until this coronavirus passes.
Two days ago, it seemed to make so much sense to get out and play as long as we followed the guidelines of not touching the flagstick, social distancing, etc. I agreed with Martin Dempster’s piece in the Scotsman about getting out and playing golf. I was even all set to sign the petition from the UK Golf Federation to government to keep golf courses open during this crisis. It reads:
“If golf courses are not kept open, potentially 30% could go bankrupt and close affecting hundreds of thousands of employees and associated industries. Also, if the course is closed and green staff stop maintaining the course it will take years to bring it back into the condition our golfers expect.”
“Finally, just short of 2 million people play golf each week, many are under 70 years old! The loss of their recreational activity, social discussions and time spent with friends and partners walking in fresh air will be lost and could have serious unnecessary long-term effects on the health, physical and mental wellbeing of these golfers.”
I won’t be signing the petition even though I sympathise with the sentiments in the petition. I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of going to the golf club despite the fact we only play in four balls and the guys I play with would adhere to government and club guidelines.
None of us really knows how this virus works. For all I know, I could be a carrying the virus and could pass it on even if I was practising all the guidelines. The last thing I’d want to do is spread the disease to friends. That risk, however remote, is just not worth it.
French colleague Martin Coulomb made me see the light in a twitter exchange today.
“It's not a problem of playing golf… it's a problem of getting there, and having the possibility to cross (interact with) other people… you should have a look at what's happening NOW in France/Italy/Spain… come on… golf can wait for a few weeks, no?”
He’s right: golf can wait for a few weeks, months, as long as it takes for this coronavirus to pass.
Fear not, though, I’ll still be getting fresh air and exercise walking my faithful friend Izzy. I can do that on my own in the countryside around my house with far less contact with others than I’d have if I went to the golf club.