This has been a tough week. One of the toughest that we as a nation have had to endure in living memory and while I appreciate we’ve been through a lot before, this crisis is unprecedented and we all need to pull together to get through.
But what does ‘pull together’ really mean when it comes to this sport that we love?
To me, it means doing what’s right and making the right decisions in a really tough time. It means doing something painful in the short-term for the long-term good of not just one person, but all the people of Ireland. It means staying away from the golf course, staying in our homes as much as we can and following the advice and guidance we’re being given by the Government.
It was put wonderfully earlier this week when someone told me that the best way for us to act is to go about things as if we had Covid-19 and didn’t want to pass it along to someone else. I’m pretty sure that those actions would not include trying to sneak onto a closed golf course to play nine holes and they certainly wouldn’t include joining other people to do the same thing. So let’s do the right thing at a tough time.
That being the case, what can we do to support our golf courses? Well, how about;
- Pay your subscription fee. In this time of zero income for the golf club, the grass still needs to be cut and the course needs to be maintained. Your course needs to be able to pay for materials, staff, insurance etc. and they simply will not be able to do this if you hold back your fees because you can’t get out to play just now. So do the right thing, if you can afford it.
- Postpone rather than cancel your society outing. Yes, I realise that you’ve not been able to play and the society outing date may have passed but rather than look for your money back, how about moving the date to later in the year or to 2021, if that’s not possible? Let the club hold the money and transfer the deposit or payment you’ve made to the new date.
- Buy a voucher or green fee. Your local PGA professional has come out of a very miserable winter with very little revenue and they were relying on a run of business from March onwards to pay their bills. This is now not happening so maybe buy a €50 voucher for the shop, or more if you can afford it. You know you’ll use it later in the year and your PGA pro will be happy you did. Obviously with the clubhouses closed this might be difficult but see if you can do it online.
- Stay engaged with the game. Many golfers haven’t played much over the winter and it would be quite easy to just leave the clubs in the shed / car / attic or wherever. But take them down, give them a scrub and swing a few in the garden. Read some articles, or watch some of the many free online tuition videos that are doing the rounds (Padraig Harrington being one of the best) and do a little chipping in the garden or putting in the living room. It will keep you sharp and interested.
- Plan some golf trips. No, I don’t mean book them, but think about what it will be like when this is all over and how happy you’ll be just to shake hands on the first tee. Maybe look at some of the courses you’ve always wanted to play and see how you might be able to do that. If you’ve never had a golf holiday in Ireland or overseas, why not look into it and pick some places you’d like to visit when you can.
This is a difficult time for everyone, and while your personal safety is the most important, don’t forget that we will come out the other side of this and life will need to continue. Indeed, golf will need to continue, but if we don’t do our part now, some of our favourite courses and friends we’ve made on them may not be there to see it.