Golf In A Plague Year – March 18
I spent most of Tuesday running around town to stock up supplies against what I see as an inevitable “shelter in place” order. Yes, I used sanitizer on my hands after every stop and washed thoroughly upon return. I also changed my clothes once I got home in an abundance of caution.
My shopping list was very specific and based on a food inventory spreadsheet I had created the previous day. While I had hoped to find everything at one stop, each store was out of significant portions of the list. After visiting five different groceries, I had all the items.
By evening, I was done worrying, so I headed for a twilight round at nearby Washtenaw Golf Club.
The pro shop was prepped for the coronavirus. A sign on the door specified that only one person could enter at a time, and that the restrooms could be accessed only from an outside door. Inside, a card reader was set up on a table that put six feet between the cashier window and customers. I like to pay for my rounds in cash so the clubs aren’t burned by the credit card company’s cut, but this is a plague year, and money is suspect.
I was paired with a fellow I knew from Green Oaks. Jesse stuck out his hand, but I laughed and said that’s probably not a good idea. He seemed a bit surprised, but said that he understood if I was concerned.
How could anyone NOT be concerned in a plague year? I am not one to worry about things, but the coronavirus has me being extra cautious.
I played well for the night, with the exception of chipping and pitching. I seem to have lost my usual good touch in those departments. There have been seasons where the only thing I had working was the short game.
Late Tuesday, the Michigan Golf Alliance ( the Michigan Golf Course Association, GAM, Michigan PGA, Michigan Golf Course Superintendents’ Association, and the Greater Michigan Chapter, CMAA ) confirmed that Governor Whitmer’s orders closing places of public accommodation and entertainment did not pertain to golf courses, per se. Under the order, clubhouses are closed, but courses can continue to operate. Thus, the measures taken at Washtenaw Golf Club to minimize employee and public contact.
Also on Tuesday, the USGA cancelled the US Women’s Amateur Four Ball, and the US Amateur Four Ball, as well as local qualifying for the 2020 US Open and US Women’s Open. The USGA plans to redesign the qualifying. As of now the US Open and US Women’s Open still will be played as scheduled.
The PGA TOUR cancelled four more events on Tuesday: The RBC Heritage, the Zurich classic, Wells Fargo and Byron Nelson. The PGA Championship has been postponed. That pretty much ends men’s professional golf competition through May 11. The PGA TOUR Champions has cancelled or rescheduled events through the June 8 MasterCard Japan Championship.
Other professional sports leagues also are either cancelled or seriously delayed (MLB). Golf, however, is a sport where the vast majority of the people who play are not professionals, but amateurs. The heart and soul of golf has been, is now, and will always be the amateur on local courses. A great many of the players I know care absolutely nothing for watching golf on television, and outside of the Majors can’t name a single tournament.
As one of those avid amateurs (although I am an avid spectator as well), the health of local courses concerns me far more than the schedules of tour pros. While courses have the option to remain open in Michigan, loss of food and beverage revenue has to hurt.
Further, I remain convinced that the Governor eventually will issue a “shelter in place” order similar to the one in California. That will effectively shut down the state.
And then, all bets are off.