I take weather delays in the summer serious, or I try to anyway. Fact is, waiting on lightning to come and go on the course is tough…there is an inherent impatience as what seems like safe blue skies could hold residual cells nearby. All golfers can appreciate this; not saying we like it, but we understand.
Take our current situation, at least in certain jurisdictions, where golf along with so many other ‘non-essential’ services are closed on recommendations of public health to help mitigate the pandemic. And like a lightning delay, there are those who fall into several camps – apathy, disdain, fear, respect, and so on. I fell into the Twitter rabbit hole and engaged with friends in a brief, but respectful debate on whether or not courses should be open but under careful health protocols. I’ll share briefly my point of view on this, and acknowledge it has changed. Let’s wait. Patiently and respectfully. Just wait. If public health officials cite risk then we have a responsibility that goes beyond our passion for the game.
So all that aside, what do we do? How do we manage the urge to play amidst nicer weather? Here are some ideas.
- Wade into the Twitter debate, they’re easy to find. The Twitter Golf community is active and it’s a fun place to hang out. Some good follows (engaging, informative, fun): @golfismental @TheGratefulGolf @BobWeeksTSN @prairiegolfmag@catalogue18mag @patrickjkoenig @SCOREGolf @maxhoma23 @IanJamesPoulter @GolfCanada @adam_stanley @lornerubenstein
- Get fit. Honest to goodness, it’s the perfect time. No one has gotten better at golf resting on the couch and eating chips…trust me, I’ve tried. Don’t let the first round destroy your body, whether its walking 18 or making body movements you’re not used to after an extended off season
- Read. Catalogue18 (Issue 02) is forthcoming and I can’t wait. So that’s highly recommended. I read @DrJoe_ZenGolf The Zen of Golf annually. It’s a recalibration for me to help me stop taking myself too seriously. Some friends think I need to read it weekly, but that’s another issue for another day. Of course, Canada’s leading golf author, Lorne Rubenstein, has several offerings worth diving into, notably a recent book on the 2019 Masters champion, Tiger Woods.
- Practice. Even If you can find space – backyard or garage – for 100 swings a day, which will help groove your swing. Indoor practice greens are all the rage now, for obvious reasons. I own a @BirdieBallUSA green. Love it.
- Revisit past glory, but with purpose. Examining your best rounds and best shots is something we all do, but consider how you were feeling, what were you thinking, how did you prepare and react throughout the round. The goal, of course, is to make these awesome rounds more memorable. My hole in one story is here…but share your glory stories with me!
- Clean up your golf equipment. I am stunned at how many players don’t keep their equipment clean. Blows me away. Assess what you have, maybe you don’t need another 6 dozen balls, but could use some golf gloves or a new pair of spikes on your favourite shoes.
- Organize collectibles. Pencils, yardage books, course tags, ball markers, balls, pin flags, shirts, and so much more. What do you keep? Take some time to get organized. Put a plan together to showcase that ace, or the round you almost shot par.
- Stay connected. Reach out to playing partners and check in. While we’re not playing golf there’s no reason you’re playing group can’t meet online over a cocktail and tell stories and stoke the passion for once we’re able to tee it up again.
- Pay It Forward – support your course. Buy lessons, order takeout from the grill, get a gift card for future play. Anything during these tough economic times will help your local course. I had written recently about Canadian golf brands you should embrace. This is an excellent time to support those brands. The money you’re saving losing that weekly skins game with buddies could go a long way to struggling Canadian golf businesses. (credit to SCOREGolf who have recently written a post on supporting local courses; you’ll see some similarities here)
Let’s stay healthy, friends. Like my ability to make 8 foot putts regularly, this situation will pass. We’ll be back, with an even greater appreciation for the game than imagined. Until then, be smart and examine productive ways to prepare for the day when the hard work of our Supers all spring will be made available to us.
If you want to discuss my views on the delayed start to the season, hit me up on Twitter or reply to this post.
2 thoughts on “Golf’s Extended Off-Season”
Great article. Thanks for the mention. I believe that the decision to wait to open courses is a solid one. It is not so much about playing golf, as the the potential to drain valuable medical and transportation services away from where it is most needed. It is a tough call and I believe we need to support those in charge by staying home and expanding my golf season preparation. Stay safe!
I like John Gordon’s response to this debate, and I paraphrase, let’s poll health care workers and their relatives to see if golf courses should be open. The argument about safety measures of playing in relation to other things open/accessible seems silly at best through that filter. Keeping safe and glad you are too!
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