As part of the social distancing aspect of the responds to the COVID-19 outbreak, most activities are shut down. Gyms and health clubs are shuttered, and cities have canceled recreation plans like softball leagues and other youth sports, since we can’t gather in groups of more than 10 in small spaces.
As an activity, golf is one of the few that can still be played; there’s been no local or state mandate closing courses and social distancing can be worked into the fabric of playing the game.
Local courses contacted or who have put out public notices that are still open include Royal St. Cloud, Celebration, Kissimmee Bay, Remington, Harmony Golf Preserve and the Disney World trio (Palm, Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, per WDWMagic.com, and note the mini-golf courses are closed). Social distancing is being practiced and golf carts are sanitized before and after every use.
Here’s some tips to enjoying your round and mitigating the spread of COVID-19:
- Be prepared to pay with a card, as some places aren’t handling cash to avoid germs.
- If there’s a line at the first tee, keep proper distance between groups.
- Observe the six-foot guideline.
- Avoid touching the flagstick — since Jan. 1, 2019 it’s within the rules to putt with it in the hole.
- Handshakes, high-fives and even fist bumps are out. Elbow bumps are in.
Positively Osceola reporter Ken Jackson, who played golf on Sunday, shared these thoughts:
We can still play if we’re smart about it. Pay with credit card and wipe the card down with a wipe or sanitizer; the pro shop guy at my course was wearing gloves. Avoid a crowd in the shop, and remember the snack bars are going to be grab-and-go, so bring water or a snack. I hand picked the guys I played with; it’s people I’ve been around since this alert started — in other words, avoid widening the circle of people you’ve been around.
See if the course will allow each rider to take a separate cart, but walk if you can. I have a push cart. If you do too, think about an umbrella and plenty of sunscreen. Elbow bumps? Nah. I’ve resorted to the “Namaste bow” (Google it).
Unless you’re in a tournament, don’t sweat the scorecard; the guy who keeps it during the round can take it home. I use an app. After the round, just load up and head home. Is it ideal? No. Does it beat the alternative of playing golf in your mind? I’d say so.