The age of social distancing has brought some official updates to the Rules of Golf. But what about all the unwritten rules, etiquette, customs, etc. that have become integral facets of the game? Is it still golf without some celebratory fist bumps or grabbing some brewskies at the 19th hole? I’d argue that while some things have changed, there are still ways we can all enjoy the greatest game while being safe:
❌ DON’T: Feel the need to putt out on every hole
✅ DO: Be a little more generous with gimmies
Obviously, if you’re playing for some sort of stakes, you’ll want everyone to complete the hole in some fashion. However, given that there isn’t much (if any) tournament play going on right now and most of us are just happy to be back out on the course, don’t feel the need to grind over that double bogey putt. Just pick it up and move on.
❌ DON’T: Celebrate with physical contact
✅ DO: Come up with some new CDC-approved celebrations
Unfortunately, social distancing has done away with the high-five, the fist bump, the chest bump, and the post-round handshake. This means one thing for your celebration game: evolve or die. Use this time to up your game by coming up with a new solo performance. Time to channel your inner Ochocinco.
❌ DON’T: Get drinks at the 19th hole
✅ DO: Get drinks out on the course
For those that like to grab a drink or two after the round, losing the 19th hole is a significant casualty. No matter: most courses still have drinks available for pickup or a drink cart, so just start the party during your round. It may even help you loosen up a bit and actually enjoy playing golf. You can always have your post-round trash talk over text messages, and while it may not be the same as doing it in person, you’ll at least have a little more time to craft the perfect burn for your buddy that shot 102.
❌ DON’T: Use common touch points
✅ DO: Get creative
Between flagsticks, bunker rakes, ball cleaners, and so on, there are normally a number of touch points on a course where germs can spread. Most of these have been removed or modified by the course, meaning you’ll need to make adjustments. In a bunker? Use your foot to smooth your tracks (or, you know, just hit the green). Dirty ball or clubs? Pour some water and wipe it down with your own towel.
❌ DON’T: Despair
✅ DO: Look forward to a return to normal life
There’s a reason these new rules are temporary. Some day soon, we’ll all be able to head to the clubhouse, watch the Masters, enjoy some BBQ, and throw back a few beverages. Until then, stay safe and be thankful you can still enjoy a round on the course.
And a bonus one for good measure:
❌ DON’T: Continue to quarantine your golf game
✅ DO: Join a golf club
You’ve spent months in social isolation. Why would you let your golf game suffer the same fate? There’s never been a better time to connect with a new golf community.
Kevin is a born and raised Southern California golfer. His golf highlights include occasionally breaking 90, losing an entire dozen balls in one round, and sinking a 20 foot putt on camera on the first take. Kevin is a member of Tiny Putters Golf and his current Handicap Index is none of your business.