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Golf and Covid
Now that the world is trying to get back to normal from Covid, I noticed a lot of changes on
the golf course. Some were better, some were worse. During the pandemic I mostly played at
Swan Lake in Manorville, NY.
One thing that took a lot of getting used to was seeing 4-somes where each player had their
own cart. The person I play with and I live on the same property, so we got an exception to the
1 player per cart rule. The course generally wasn’t crowded, so aside from it looking odd, I did
not notice a change to the pace of play. As a guess, I would think it would pick up the pace as
each player could go to their own ball, but it was a non event.
We also weren’t allowed to remove the pin. I know some removed it anyway, but we just
left it in. Thus far, without the restriction, we still tend to leave it in. A noticeable difference,
hitting the pin was not helpful at all to get the putt to drop, but if you went at the pin hard, it
usually slowed the ball down a bit. We decided to implement a rule where if you could hit the
pin and bounce out, it counted as going in. I’m sure some went the other way with this rule.
Over the 2021 season, it saved us maybe 5 strokes total, so another non event. I did notice
more clubs left behind, but I was taught to leave my clubs with the pin so someone would see
them. I got myself in the habit of leaving my head cover on every green, so I got in the habit of
looking for it.
We also couldn’t rake out the traps. I have rounds where I am in the sand a lot. The biggest
thing I noticed is if I went in the afternoon, there were a lot of footprints in the trap. My sand
game is hit or miss on a good day, but I think it did mess me up a bit. On really bad lies, I would
move the ball a bit to take at least a fair shot. How well I hit out of the trap depended more on
if it was mid fairway or right around the green. I am known for hitting from 1 trap to another
around the green, there was no change. I did hear people complain about this.
I know they said there were more people golfing during the pandemic. Maybe I just timed it
right, but if anything, the course was quieter. That could have just been due to travel
restrictions. Generally, an average round at Swan is give or take 4 hours, as much as 6 if it is
packed. When empty, I can get through in 2 ½ hours. On average, the rounds were lasting
about 3 hours. I would call this a win.
One thing I didn’t like was that there was no 19th hole or beer cart. Dead of summer, it gets
hot out there. They also stopped putting out the water coolers, so it could get dry out there. I
learned quickly to bring drinks with me. As far as the clubhouse being closed, it just isn’t the
same not being able to sit and unwind after the round. This wasn’t the biggest deal as I live 5
minutes away.
I did golf at other courses during the pandemic. The experience was basically the same at
each course. The other noticeable change, they were not matching up players, so it was just
the 2, sometimes 3 or 4 us by our selves. I like meeting other players on the course, so this was
a negative. Golf can be very social, but that aspect is mostly gone.
What I have noticed is that a lot of the changes they made for Covid are still in place. Some
are starting to pull the pin more often, but I think ¾ groups in front of me are still leaving it in.
Not raking out traps is kind of 50/50 for me. I don’t miss raking them out, but shooting out of
footprints or from the same spot the player in front of me hit from…. None of these changes
are completely changing the game, at least for my level. Better golfers and competitive golfers
may look at this differently.
By Sebastian Wyczawski

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GolfCovidChanges

  • 1. Golf and Covid Now that the world is trying to get back to normal from Covid, I noticed a lot of changes on the golf course. Some were better, some were worse. During the pandemic I mostly played at Swan Lake in Manorville, NY. One thing that took a lot of getting used to was seeing 4-somes where each player had their own cart. The person I play with and I live on the same property, so we got an exception to the 1 player per cart rule. The course generally wasn’t crowded, so aside from it looking odd, I did not notice a change to the pace of play. As a guess, I would think it would pick up the pace as each player could go to their own ball, but it was a non event. We also weren’t allowed to remove the pin. I know some removed it anyway, but we just left it in. Thus far, without the restriction, we still tend to leave it in. A noticeable difference, hitting the pin was not helpful at all to get the putt to drop, but if you went at the pin hard, it usually slowed the ball down a bit. We decided to implement a rule where if you could hit the pin and bounce out, it counted as going in. I’m sure some went the other way with this rule. Over the 2021 season, it saved us maybe 5 strokes total, so another non event. I did notice more clubs left behind, but I was taught to leave my clubs with the pin so someone would see them. I got myself in the habit of leaving my head cover on every green, so I got in the habit of looking for it. We also couldn’t rake out the traps. I have rounds where I am in the sand a lot. The biggest thing I noticed is if I went in the afternoon, there were a lot of footprints in the trap. My sand game is hit or miss on a good day, but I think it did mess me up a bit. On really bad lies, I would move the ball a bit to take at least a fair shot. How well I hit out of the trap depended more on if it was mid fairway or right around the green. I am known for hitting from 1 trap to another around the green, there was no change. I did hear people complain about this. I know they said there were more people golfing during the pandemic. Maybe I just timed it right, but if anything, the course was quieter. That could have just been due to travel
  • 2. restrictions. Generally, an average round at Swan is give or take 4 hours, as much as 6 if it is packed. When empty, I can get through in 2 ½ hours. On average, the rounds were lasting about 3 hours. I would call this a win. One thing I didn’t like was that there was no 19th hole or beer cart. Dead of summer, it gets hot out there. They also stopped putting out the water coolers, so it could get dry out there. I learned quickly to bring drinks with me. As far as the clubhouse being closed, it just isn’t the same not being able to sit and unwind after the round. This wasn’t the biggest deal as I live 5 minutes away. I did golf at other courses during the pandemic. The experience was basically the same at each course. The other noticeable change, they were not matching up players, so it was just the 2, sometimes 3 or 4 us by our selves. I like meeting other players on the course, so this was a negative. Golf can be very social, but that aspect is mostly gone. What I have noticed is that a lot of the changes they made for Covid are still in place. Some are starting to pull the pin more often, but I think ¾ groups in front of me are still leaving it in. Not raking out traps is kind of 50/50 for me. I don’t miss raking them out, but shooting out of footprints or from the same spot the player in front of me hit from…. None of these changes are completely changing the game, at least for my level. Better golfers and competitive golfers may look at this differently. By Sebastian Wyczawski