We've lost and learned a lot during these months of quarantine. We need to emerge as better individuals, for the sake of humanity. That includes our conduct on the golf course. Many PGA professionals and other members of the golf industry have compiled thoughts on how to best conduct ourselves on the golf course, to ensure safety and rules compliance. We have a responsibility to our fellow golfers, and also to the owners and operators of the places we play. None of this is up for debate.
OK, the serious stuff has been stated. Now, how do we return to the game we love, and play it with the enthusiasm and joy it and we deserve? Here are six steps to a return to golf-improved. You don't have to undertake all of them but, if you do, you'll expand your enthusiasm for the game. Let's go!
1. Embrace walking
We all love our carts. They allow us to bring an entire camping tent filled with gear along. Thing is, water, portable speaker for music, range finder-those can all fit in your golf bag, which brings us to point number two.
2. Get yourself a carry bag
You can go low-end or high-end with a new, carry bag. Out of shape? Get one of those small ones, that only hold seven clubs comfortably (wait, what? Don't worry-that's step #3) Really out of shape? Play six holes, or nine holes, and build up your endurance. Your heart and lungs will thank you.
3. Get creative with a Short Set
The fellows at @t2greenbuffalo on Twitter called it a short set, and we love that term. Throw driver, hybrid, 5, 7, 9, 56 degree and putter into your bag, and get creative. Take a little bit off the hybrid when you need the 4-iron shot. Take a little off the 5 iron for your 6-iron shot. Hit a running chip with the 7 or 9 iron. Open up the face of the 56 degree for a flop. Nice to be a kid again. Didn't play golf as a kid? Time to play like a kid!
4. Limit your tees and balls
Put five tees and 6 balls in your bag. Lighten the load. If you break all the tees, you have to tee off with broken tees or off the deck. If you lose your 4th golf ball, you'll start checking the rough and tree lines for someone else's lost balls. You'll learn to hit it straighter! Challenge yourself as you lighten the load.
5. Love putting with the flag stick in
We have a theory: people are good at soccer and hockey because the goal rises above the flat ground. Well, same goes for a hole that "rises" by way of the flag stick. Use that vertical targeting to your advantage. Putting is challenging enough, with your head turned sideways to take that final look at the line. Use the vertical stick line to assist your brain.
6. Play Friendlier
Bring a new attitude to the golf course. If the group in front is playing slowly, take a deep breath and do some pushups ... or some yoga ... or take a photo with your phone ... or have a bunker contest. Just keep an eye on the group behind you. If the turtle crew continues to drag, tell the security personnel at the turn (if your course has a turn) about their lethargy. No reason to get close enough to mix it up. Find your center, stay calm, and just enjoy being out and playing one of the greatest games ever invented.