While golf (or the lack thereof) is the least of anyone’s problems right now, golf is my therapy, my alone time, my passion, my gym.  Of course, I could survive without it, but I’d be miserable.  So, to all the golf courses that have remained open, having gone to great lengths to do so… THANK YOU!!!  You are my lifeline to sanity.

Not shaking anyone’s hand after the round

Golf courses’ staff have been brilliant in how they’re keeping us (and themselves) safe.  I can play a round of golf 100% socially-distanced.

I get to the pro shop and the door to it is kept wide open so I don’t have to touch the handle.  There’s a notice that players line up 6 feet apart to pay, and we do.  If I use a credit card, the pro, who’s wearing a facemask, gives it back to me wrapped in a hand-sanitizer wipe.  My credit card has never been so clean.

Golf holes have been inverted so the hole is sitting on the green instead of below it, so no one has to touch the hole to retrieve their ball.  In belly button terms, golf holes are usually Innies, now they’re Outies.

For all those lazy bunker players who don’t rake their footprints anyway, now you don’t have to — there are no rakes.

A sacrilege – leaving my footprints in a bunker

And if you’re taking a motorized cart, it’s just one player per cart.  The courses have been brilliant in coming up with all these adjustments so we can still play yet socially distance.

In fact, I’ve played 15 rounds in the Coronavirus Era and have seen only one safety breach.  A starter wanted me to sign for the cart, using his pen.  While I’m not an all-out germaphobe, I will admit to having “Seinfeldian tendencies”.  If you know Jerry Seinfeld, you know what I mean.  So, when the starter tried to hand me that pen, I pictured millions of Coronavirus molecules left on it from hundreds of players who had already used it to sign for their carts.  A nicer person might have said “Oh gosh, I’d rather not use that pen, thank you”.  But I’m me, I said “There’s no way I’m not touching that thing!”.

I heard him mumble “Paranoid”.  Paranoid?  Under normal circumstances, maybe yes.  But now?  I’ve been washing my hands, for 20 seconds each time, 20 times a day!  I’ve played amateur chemist trying to concoct a homemade hand sanitizer.  I’m literally washing my groceries like I wash my dishes – scrubbing each package with dishwashing detergent, rinsing them off and setting them to dry in my dishdrain.  And he wants me to touch a pen that’s been touched by every golfer on the course?  I don’t think so!

And there’s a postscript to this:  that starter, the course’s usual starter, hasn’t been at the course for over a week.  I don’t know if he’s sick, I certainly hope not, but sometimes paranoia is a good thing.

But these are my big problems.  I apologize to anyone who’s reading this who has had to endure health issues, or had to take care of elderly parents, or young children.  And thank you to all the doctors, nurses, essential workers who are facing this pandemic on the front lines to keep the rest of us safe and healthy.  We’re all indebted to you.

And I’m sorry also for folks whose lives have been seriously affected in other ways by Coronavirus.  I asked one guy I played with, Jordan, if the Coronavirus had affected him.  His answer, his literal answer, was:  “Well, I was supposed to be getting married tomorrow”. Oh man.  He and his fiancé had to cancel their 125-attendee wedding and Hawaii honeymoon.

Please everyone, stay safe and healthy, and hopefully not depressed through this time.  And whatever you do, don’t use anyone else’s pen.

“Outtie” golf hole