Recent developments in the golf climate around New York state have me thinking back to my childhood.
“Here’s two dollars.” Me: “Why can’t I have three?”
“You can stay up until 10 o’clock.” Me: “Why can’t I go to bed at 11?”
A parent would offer me a little something extra, and it wasn’t enough.
Judging by my voicemail box and email, the governor’s permission to play golf, guided by conditions to slow the spread of COVID-19, isn’t enough.
This isn’t going to be a popular stand, but my opinion is that if you can’t walk, you shouldn’t play during these extraordinary times.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo clarified Monday that motorized golf carts are not permitted on courses in the state. It it one of several guidelines imposed April 17 intented to promote safe play.
I thought it was pretty clear then that carts were prohibited, but several area courses interpreted Empire State Development’s guidance differently. They now must abide by the directive or risk getting penalized.
Course owners derive a lot of money from cart rental, but at least they can collect greens fees. Do you know how many nonessential businesses — and that’s what the state has declared golf to be — would love to have a revenue stream during this shutdown? Talk to some bowling proprietors who haven’t taken in a penny since mid-March.
Then there’s the faction who want to play golf, but for them walking is too much of a physical hardship. To be blunt, they probably shouldn’t be outside during this pandemic. If you’re on the fence about whether you can walk, find a flat or executive course, and limit yourself to nine holes.
Some are citing violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I sympathize with anyone who has a disability and admire those who can enjoy the game despite limitations, but a pandemic trumps (no pun intended) one’s supposed right to play golf.
Golf with restrictions is better than no golf at all.
At the risk at offending my friend Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. Clubwoman, whose latest contribution to the Times Union golf blog is that they need keep restrooms open, I would say adapt. Limit your play to nine holes, don’t drink a lot of water beforehand or wait until we’re closer to normalcy.
Buildings, including restrooms, must remain closed. No ball washers. No rakes. No caddies. Golfers must maintain social distancing. No carts.
These are the rules we must abide to play a sport that, in all honesty, is nonessential. If you don’t want to follow those rules, then don’t play.
Golfers should be thankful for the privilege of being able to play. If you don’t like the conditions, then help fight the COVID-19 pandemic by staying quarantined until such a time that these restrictions can be lifted.
The sooner people follow the rules, the sooner we’ll get back to the way things were before the pandemic.
And I’ll do my part by not asking for an extension on my bedtime.
Although it is far from a done deal, a skins game involving four pro golfers in August at Mohawk has been tossed around. PGA Tour Champions regular Blaine McCallister floated the possibility last week on Rodger Wyland‘s radio show, and Mohawk pro Jeremy Kerr confirmed that discussions have been held. The idea is to have it before or after the Champion Tour’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Open on Aug. 14-16 in suburban Binghamton. All planning is on hold because of the social-distancing restrictions in place. It has been 12 years since the Capital District Skins Game, a benefit for Ellis Hospital, was last played at Mohawk. … The Northeastern New York PGA has canceled all events through May 11. The Stroke Play Championship, the section’s premier event, remains scheduled for May 19-20 at Mohawk. A decision on that likely will be made next week.
Because of “current restrictions under the NYS on Pause Executive Order and evolving situation regarding COVID-19,” the New York State Golf Association on Tuesday postponed all May events, including the Men’s Amateur Four-Ball at Leatherstocking, rescheduled for Sept. 21-22. Also affected were Amateur Series events at Irondequoit (now Sept. 8), Kaluhyat (Oct. 8), Shenendoah (Oct. 9) and Leatherstocking (new date TBD).
Barney Road: The executive course in Clifton Park will open Wednesday. Tee times must be purchased online.
Capital Hills: Still no decision on a possible opening date.
Copake: Official opening is Friday. Club is taking tee times now.
Frear Park: The course will open at 8 a.m. Friday. Tee times can be made two days in advance, and greens fees must be paid over the phone.
Top of the World: The Lake George course plans to open Saturday, following social distancing guidelines.
The U.S. Girls’ Junior (July 13-18) and U.S. Junior Amateur (July 20-25) are the latest events to be canceled by the COVID-19. The USGA also has delayed opening entries for six other amateur championships until the week of May 18: Women’s Amateur, Amateur, Senior Amateur, Mid-Amateur Senior Women’s Amateur. All six are scheduled for August or September.
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