Australian golf media have weighed in on the on-again, off-again situation of playing golf amid the COVID-19 epidemic.
Can you play golf right now, or not? Astoundingly, there is no simple answer with governments and golf’s ruling bodies across Australia giving confusing, often conflicting advice.
I borrowed a couple of lines for the title for this post. One from a recent opinion piece from Golf Australia Magazine editor Brendan James, and one from Brad Clifton at Australian Golf Digest. Both are astounded that golf is still being played in Australia.
Given the very existence of these magazines relies on golf being played, their insistence that golf courses need to shut down makes for compelling reading.
Especially after yesterday’s message from the NSW Government and Golf NSW suggesting golf courses can re-open, something many golf courses across NSW have done today.
Golf Australia editor Brendan James advocates for a golf shutdown especially as not all golfers are practising social-distancing.
I have to admit it was not a good look for the game to see golfers treading the fairways – not all practicing social-distancing mind you – as the majority of the population stayed in self-isolation. It looked like any other normal Sunday.
But it wasn’t. No day is normal anymore.
With a slight drop in daily cases over the weekend, self-isolation is obviously working. I feel for the clubs losing their last revenue stream (as little as it may be) if they have to close their course. But I really believe this short term pain, and having more people staying home, will end this nightmare for all of us sooner rather than later.
Australian Golf Digest’s Brad Clifton was also scathing of the lack of leadership that sees golf courses still open across the country.
The image of golf is taking a battering right now and it’s little wonder why. While just about every other sport took the lead and shut up shop, the self-righteous behaviour of those convinced that they have every right to continue teeing up against recommendations because golf is a form of exercise, completely disregarding the “danger zone” demographic they share the car park with, is alarming. The “Age of Entitlement” line has been flipped on its head. In a lot of cases, it’s the youth now showing more common sense in the fight against coronavirus.
The broader community isn’t happy about golf’s crusade to keep playing. Ask the friendly folk having a hit at The Vintage – the beautiful Greg Norman-designed golf resort in the New South Wales Hunter Valley – this week. Residents saw golfers out having fun and apparently not engaging in proper social-distancing behaviour. So they called the cops. Yep, the local constabulary had to drive out and see what all the fuss was about. In the end, the golfers were let off.