Eight Do's & Don'ts For Golfers In The Age Of COVID-19

In this new environment, golfers should be following a new set of etiquette / safety rules.

Golf courses have been coming up with procedures and protocols to make golfing as safe as possible. From only allowing one rider in each power cart to removing ball washers, course operators are fully engaged in the safety process.

But golfers also have a role to play, to ensure that playing golf remains as safe as possible. People can be asymptomatic and still be able to pass on the virus and golfers must assume that everyone they come in contact with could be sick.

Taking it from booking your tee time to shaking hands on the 18th green (NOT), here are eight do's & don'ts.

The first two are "golfy" versions of the rules that you should be following everywhere in any case...

#1 The "Two Club Length" Rule
Stay 2 metres or a couple of drivers apart. This is #1 because it should apply everywhere you go... grocery store checkout lines, at work, even in your car coming to the course. Unless the person you are playing with lives in the same house as you, you should travel separately.

#2 "Can't Touch That"
Everywhere you go, avoid touching any surface that others may touch. Try to go nowhere that others may go. This means not going into the clubhouse and pro shop, not using the washrooms, if at all possible. On the course, that includes tables at the snack shack, pins on the greens, ball washers, your friend's power car, etc.
Also, try to work on the habit of not touching your face. And don't think you can protect yourself by wearing a golf glove, it does not work.

#3 Book Online If You Can
Courses are offering online booking options from credit cards to apple pay to paypal.  Use them.

#4 Play With People You Know
Getting hooked up with someone you don't know is probably not that smart at this point. If they turn out to be sick, it may be difficult for you to be notified... and visa versa. If you are playing with someone you don't know, exchange emails so that if needed, follow-up contact is possible.

#5 Bring Everything You Might Need
You want to make sure you avoid touching anything you can while at the course. From balls to bottles of water, if you can keep it in your trunk and then just add to your bag, then do so. Don't share as you may just infect someone else.

#6 Don't Arrive Too Early
If your tee time is 11AM, try to get there only 15-20 minutes before that. Stay in your car if you get there with more time than that.

#7 Minimize Your Warm Up
This is one of the situations you can come in contact with people you don't know. Keep your warm up as short as you can. Warm up putting should be done bearing in mind the "Two Club Length" rule.  If you must use the range, use hand sanitizer on the bucket handle before picking up and only use stalls that have an open spot on BOTH sides. If someone comes to use one of those, either ask them not to or move based on your preference.

#8 Communicating With Others
Not every golfer may be as aware of Golf Do's & Don'ts In The Age of COVID as you. In these times, the mindset should be to educate.

Before you tee off, ask those in your foursome whether they or whether anyone else in their household has felt sick recently or may have been exposed to the virus elsewhere. If anyone answers yes, you might be well advised to leave. Otherwise, talk about the "Two Club Length" rule and suggest if they see you breaking it to remind you to keep your distance.... and that you'll be happy to do the same for them. The same holds true if you see someone touching something they maybe shouldn't be. Don't be afraid to educate.