Op/Ed: How golf has benefited during the COVID-19 pandemic

Natural+advantages+like+large+exposure+to+sunlight+and+vast+open+spaces+to+social+distance+have+proved+to+bring+more+attention+and+participation+to+the+game+of+golf.

Stephen Szurlej (Golf Digest)

Natural advantages like large exposure to sunlight and vast open spaces to social distance have proved to bring more attention and participation to the game of golf.

 

When the COVID-19 lockdown first began, things looked very troubling for the game of golf. The Professional Golf Association Tour suspended its season and golf courses around the country were closed temporarily.
However, when golf and its seemingly built-in social distancing characteristics were deemed a safe practice for the public, people were quick to fill courses all over the country. After months of being cooped up within the walls of their homes, it seemed that many Americans saw the reopening of golf as an escape.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Stuart Lindsay, a principal with Edgehill Golf Advisors stated, “People are itching to get outside. They can’t go to a bar. They can’t go to a restaurant. They can’t play softball. Golf is one of the few things they can do that’s a variation of riding a bike or walking the dog.”
The reopening of golf courses proved to jumpstart the golf industry. In an interview with The Washington Post, David Pillsbury, the chief executive of ClubCorp, which owns or operates 173 private golf or country clubs nationally stated, “Our rounds are through the roof. It’s up 25 to 30 percent over the prior year. Our members are using the club more than they’ve ever used it before.”
As unfortunate as the COVID-19 pandemic has been it actually presented a great opportunity to grow the game of golf. Natural advantages like large exposure to sunlight and vast open spaces to social distance have proved to bring more attention and participation in the sport.
Additional data found in The Washington Post illustrates a massive spike in rounds among public golf courses. “Between April 23 and May 5, the number of rounds sold online at public courses that remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic were up 60 percent over the previous year, according to GolfNow, an online tee time reservations platform used at nearly 7,000 U.S. courses.”
The PGA Tour resumed its season on June 11 and has since completed their season along with two of 2020’s major golf championships. This along with the rescheduled date of the Masters Golf Tournament quickly approaching, has put golf in a great place.
As long as social distancing and COVID-19 protocols are followed there is little risk of transmission on the golf course. Meaning that golf is a great activity for those who want to have fun in a low-risk COVID-19 environment.
For more information on how to play golf safely, you can read “10 ways to play golf safely as courses open up across U.S.”