While many team sports are suffering major losses from the coronavirus pandemic, golf has remained a stable and growing source of entertainment, recreation, and socialization — even in these times of social distance. Let’s take a look at how the sport has fared since courses reopened across the country.
Players Golf in the Bubble
As one of the few activities approved for players inside the NBA bubble, golf has become an even more popular way for professional athletes to pass the time. With access to a few private courses while stationed in Orlando, FL, NBA athletes are able to socially distance themselves from the competition and still enjoy a game of 18 holes. Players like Jason Tatum and Dwight Powell have even posted photos and videos of their swings on social media.
The Return of Tournaments
In response to the global health crisis, major golf tournaments are moving forward with revised schedules, caddy-less playing options, and other unprecedented changes. The Symetra Tour, for example, is now down to a total of 10 events for the 2020 season. As the official qualifying tour of the LPGA, the Symetra Tour is determined to keep players safe while saving as much of the competitive season as possible. The adjusted schedule will include new golf competitions among returning favorites, such as the Insurance Office of America (IOA)-sponsored IOA Championship and IOA Golf Classic.
More Nationwide Tee Time
Across the country, an influx of first-time golfers has revealed the sport’s unique ability to bring family, friends, and coworkers together while allowing them to continue adhering to public health mandates. Along with new faces, however, more lifelong players are returning to their favorite outdoor activity as well. For example, at Alaqua Country Club in Longwood, FL, principally owned by IOA co-founder John Ritenour, members can once again access exclusive club facilities in addition to the club’s beautifully designed courses — and the private club has definitely witnessed an uptick in activity since reopening.
What Course Will Golf Take?
Compared to other sports and activities, golf has witnessed a steady growth since states have gradually started to return to normal. So, what can players expect next? Unfortunately, there’s no telling how long it will be before restaurants, shopping malls, and sports clubs are able to fully open and stay open. However, it’s safe to say that golf will remain one of the safest ways for relatives, loved ones, and friends to connect and spend socially distant time together.