According to’s Michael Bamberger, now courses all around the world are re-opening, and maybe the rules under the Pandemic, are actually better thanks to Golf’s new safety rules.

He was lucky enough to have played 45 holes at his local club, the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Eight playing partners. One lost ball. Forty-five foam donuts. No rakes. One rules violation.

Fifth hole, second round on Sunday, he tossed a ball back to its owner when it settled in gimme range. The reminder was immediate and incontrovertible: You’re not supposed to touch another player’s equipment. Last year’s common courtesy is this year’s health risk.

He agreed he will not make that mistake again. For one thing, he like many of us would not want this privilege to be taken from him or anyone else. For another, better safe than sorry.

You also have to adjust. For example, a slow player cannot adjust to a fast player’s pace. Slow players lack the fast gene. But a fast player can slow down.

Golf with foam donuts in the cups is still golf. It may not be PGA Tour golf, but it is at most every other level. In fact, golf with foam donuts in the hole makes the gimme more of a real thing, as it probably ought to be.

While we’re at it, he states golf is better without bunker rakes, as we’re playing now. Faster, for one thing. More primitive. More penal, for being someplace you shouldn’t be. More imperfect, less uniform, as the world is imperfect and not uniform.

Over time, if golf eliminated the bunker rake, architects and course superintendents would use heavier sand, less resistant to footprints, more responsive to the soccer-kick smooth-out.

This pandemic absolutely stinks. But something good can come from it. Simpler golf would be on that list. Not high, but on it.

His Sunday morning game started at 7:15. Four players, all of us former caddies, and one current caddie, with a yardage book and good eyes. We played ready golf. If your ball touched some foam at a reasonable speed, the shot was holed. Teams were selected on the first tee. A tee was tossed for the honor. Somebody explained the new handicap system. The match finished all square at 10:35. A new season was underway…


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