Golf is one of sport’s more traditional pursuits, but as courses in England ready themselves for resumption on May 13th, it will return as a somewhat different game, maybe perhaps better coordinated and with potential to grow in popularity.
Governing bodies worked closely to formulate protocols to make golf safe amid coronavirus restrictions and insiders welcome the government’s relaxation of restrictions, especially after one of the wettest winters on record caused widespread course closures.
No friendly fourballs
For the time being, the traditional friendly fourball is a thing of the past. Government rules say exercise can only be taken with members of the same household or with one other person from a different household. For golf, this means playing on your own or with one other person or within your family group.
No touching the flag
When the updated 2019 version of the rules was published, provision was made for golfers to be able to putt with the flag still in the hole. This was brought in to help speed up play, but it is now an essential component of the game.
No-one should be allowed to touch the flagstick to help prevent transmission of the virus. Putting into an empty cup is no longer an option.
Your ball will get dirty
That is a fact of life in these times. Ball washers, usually located next to teeing grounds, are to be taken out of use. The same applies to benches and seats dotted around courses, which now become a form of out of bounds.
And – traditionalists look away – changing in the car park is OK.
Many golf clubs are affronted by the thought a player would change their shoes anywhere other than in the locker room. But these facilities, including clubhouses, will remain shut even when courses are open.
That means changing into your spikes in the car park is not only all right, it is actively encouraged.
Well, golf in England is set to return, however, it seems the rules are more relaxed here in Thailand, thank goodness.