Lockdown has changed the rules and while golf isn’t ordinarily a team sport, it is now, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
The vast majority of golfers play the game as individuals … OK, except for betterball comps on a Wednesday or Saturday (side note: remember those great days?). We are usually responsible for picking our own clubs, guestimating the yardage, the lines on the green and the like.
The Covid-19 pandemic (who else can’t wait to stop using that phrase?) has forced golf into close quarters – metaphorically speaking, of course.
We’ve seen how the Sunshine Tour rallied to support their players and caddies with a monthly stipend with no return to the competitive circuit in sight. Then came the force of golf clubs who quickly rallied, and with remarkable scale, to help their caddies and staff with food and supplies – I believe more than R5 million was raised throughout the country. GolfRSA joined the fight and set up their relief fund with an initial R1 million injected into the cause – watch our channels as we bring you up to speed with the latest developments and exciting ways in which you can help join their efforts.
All this time, GolfRSA, together with the PGA of South Africa and Club Management Association of Southern Africa, were working furiously on a proposal to submit to government to reopen golf facilities and, more importantly, get thousands of people back to work. It took a collective effort, many hours and much effort. As golfers, we should be extremely grateful that the game is in such safe hands. Cannot reiterate that enough.
I agree, yes it can be frustrating to know that golf is geared towards social distancing and courses remain closed, but if we take a step back we can conclude this time is about saving lives and limiting the spread of the virus. A false move now could prove a knockout punch to the battle being fought on our behalf.
The news then that six golfers were arrested in Newcastle, even before level 4 of the lockdown, should be the lone warning we all need not to break the rules. Don’t ruin it for everyone else. Don’t ruin it for the staff that need to go back to work to put food on the table for their families. Simply put, the risk is too high to be one of the very, very few that break the law.
You need to be a part of the team albeit as an individual doing your best to support golf’s efforts to reopen long before level 1 or even after that.
The Springboks used #strongertogether en route to their 2019 Rugby World Cup triumph and golf has already shown in this short time that the game is #strongertogether when we are all on the same page, all ‘swinging’ from the same script.
And when the day does come to return to the fairways, please let’s once again remember the call to obey the rules and regulations of social distancing.