The good news for golfers is that, with proper precautions, golfers can continue to play golf amid concerns over the coronavirus, also know as COVID-19.
Dr. Catherine Troisi is an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She has stated that — with some modification — golf as it is normally played is fairly safe.
“You’re not in contact with a whole lot of other people, and it’s not like basketball where you’re touching and very close to other players, so you maintain several feet of distance between people.”
That said, Troisi adds that applying a bit of common sense to the cautions being issued by the scientific community should enable us to continue to enjoy the game we love.
It all begins with staying out of “gimme” distance. Leaving the flagstick in place, each player riding in a golf cart alone (or, if walking, keeping at least 6 feet between golfers), not touching another players’ equipment and dropping the traditional end of round handshake are other commonsense actions.
The 19th hole, where bets are settled, great rounds celebrated and horrible shots are drowned? Well, if not abandoned (recommended), these should be approached with greater than usual caution, especially by players with underlying medical conditions.
Local golf courses and clubs have already begun modifying on- and off-course experiences.
The Galveston Country Club, in compliance with a mandate from the city of Galveston, is open for golf, but with no inside, pool and pavilion service. They are also taking phone and online takeout orders, and the beverage cart is making its rounds.
The club has suspended buffet and social functions, including the Cajun Fest that was slated for March 21, but regular menu service is available, and the dining rooms have been rearranged for limited seating with social distancing.
South Shore Harbour and Magnolia Creek are open for play, and the clubs are open for normal business hours. However, water coolers have been removed from the courses as have all self-service water and coffee stations. Players are encouraged to visit the Lone Pine Grill or South Shore Harbour Snack Shop for beverages.
Additionally, members have been messaged to “Please refrain from using the Club if you experience any cold or flu-like symptoms,” or “if you have been in direct contact with someone who tested presumptive positive.” And, “If you have traveled internationally in the last few weeks to one of the countries with Level II or Level III warnings, please follow the guidelines provided by the CDC.”
Texas City’s Bayou Golf Course reported the course is open for play and their terrific cheeseburgers are available. They are asking voluntary compliance to social distancing by limiting pro shop occupancy to 10 or less people at a time.
Conditions will be closely monitored. Meanwhile, golf professional Mark Ripley said it’s a great time for people to get outdoors and take a lesson. You can reach him at 713-408-4781.
Moody Gardens Golf Course is open for play and having plenty of business. However, a designated spokesman was unable to provide any additional information before Wednesday’s deadline.
Beacon Lakes is open for business but did not provide any additional information.