My Background on Golf, And Rules Regarding COVID-19

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I started playing golf at the age of ten, under my dads supervision. Started off at a driving range and worked my way on to the real course. I had the best teacher by the age of twelve, his name was Ken Lanning. He just passed away a few years ago at the age of 90. He was one of the best amateur golfers in the state of Missouri, and taught me pretty much everything I know about golf today, including the grip, the correct stance, and most important of all, demeanor on the golf course and courtesy. So, that being said, I became serious about the game, and became a pretty good junior golfer. I won several junior golf tournaments around the Rolla area, and played pretty good in high school, enough to letter all four years, all conference, all district, not all state but made a decent showing in the state tournament, and I was all conference in college at the division two level playing for the Missouri S&T.

So down through the years I’ve played competitive golf in some pretty bad weather, and you know how weather is in March in Missouri, it’s windy, it’s cold quite often and rainy. As far as the forecast for this winter according to the Farmers Almanac, it’s slated to be cold with above normal snowfall, a perfect forecast if you love snow and cold. While winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21st the cold weather should start rolling in by early November. So that gives us still about three weeks of some decent golf weather. The only problem is this time of year you have not necessarily cold weather, rainy weather, or windy weather, but you have leaves. And that makes it pretty difficult to find your golf ball.

So anyway, I’m going to talk a little about COVID-19 today. I’ve had the chance to play several golf courses this summer, and it’s interesting how the rules on COVID-19 vary from city to city. I guess kind of depending on the population, which is higher in Boone County particularly the City of Columbia. They have some pretty strict rules, matter of fact I haven’t played any golf in Columbia this summer but, I did play at Centralia, and early on, they had some pretty strict rules. Centralia is part of Boone County, they wanted you to take individual golf carts, and practice social distancing. A good rule that I didn’t think about was don’t touch the flagstick, just leave it in all the time. As of 2020 that’s the new rule in the PGA Tour is that you can leave the flagstick in and not incur a penalty if you hit the flagstick when you’re putting so just leave that in and that saves taking the flagstick in and out and contracting a virus in that manner.

Another thing some of the Clubs have done, is they have resorted to closing the Clubhouse, I know Montgomery City did this for a while. And you just put your money in a box outside the Clubhouse that way you don’t have any interaction with the person taking your money at the golf course, which is a pretty good idea. Use the honor system, pay your fees and then play and the golf carts are all set out just return those yourself when you’re finished with your round. So that’s Centralia and Montgomery City, but I’ve found out as the smaller town that you get, the more relaxed the rules have become, especially as we weather this COVID-19 now going on ten months. So this past weekend we played golf in Monroe City, and in Monroe City, they didn’t seem to have too many rules, they did have food available, nobody was wearing a mask, they allowed people to ride together in golf carts, they did have a sign up to sanitize your hands and practice social distancing whenever possible. Monroe City certainly wasn’t as strict as Centralia or Montgomery City for that matter.

So in summary, enjoy the golf while you can, while the weather is nice, during the next three weeks as well I remember last year I got several rounds of golf in in November and also in January, so I’m not going to put my clubs up quite yet. But, if you can tolerate some cold weather, then this is the sport for you because it’s one of the few sports we can actually participate in with the COVID-19. Coming up next week I’m going to preview the Masters Tournament in November, that’s right everybody has had to make some allowances with COVID-19. I welcome your comments to this blog. You can email me at [email protected] and let me know if you agree with my comments or have any suggestions!