If you live in the UK, you will have woken up this morning to the news that all golf clubs and course have been shut as part of an effort to contain the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
Whilst this has clearly been done in the interests of public health, it has also raised important questions about the livelihood of golf club employees as well as the financial ramifications of such a move on the clubs. It's also going to be difficult for all of us golf fanatics, who are unable to get out and tee it up after work or during the weekend for at least the next three weeks.
However, at Golfalot HQ we have been thinking, perhaps there are some positives that can come to the world of golf as a result of these enforced rules.
Positives For The Professional Game
Golf Should Get Plenty Of Coverage
No EURO 2020 tournament. No Olympic Games. No Glastonbury. Golf could take centre stage towards the end of this summer.
For example, if The Open does indeed go ahead at Royal St George's and the likes of Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods are in contention over the weekend, it could do wonders to raising the profile of the game.
There is constantly talk of 'growing the game' and trying to appeal to younger people - and what better way of doing this than getting golf on the front page of the news to showcase it's many great qualities?
There is Still A LOT To Play For
Yes, events like The Players may have gone, but as it stands we still have the small matter of four men's major championships, four women's major championships and the Ryder Cup, as well as end of season playoff events, all to play for this summer.
The Tour players will be thoroughly well rested, and will have spent the last couple of months getting fully prepared to hit the ground running. As long as this doesn't rumble on too long, the action could come thick and fast, and we already can't wait!
Positives For Golfers
You can FINALLY sort out that golf bag
They say that a tidy home equals a tidy mind, so perhaps you could exercise the same philosophy when it comes to your golf bag and help banish some demons.
We all know that our irons and wedges could do with being cleaned more often, that knitted headcover has really seen better days and the multitude of Yorkie wrappers and Lucozade bottles filling up space at the bottom of your bag really don't need to be lugged around with you every time you play.
So why not set aside a couple of hours to properly go through your gear and sort out what you need and don't need out on the golf course. You should always make sure that your clubs are clean anyway - it will avoid rusting and having clean grooves should improve consistency.
Prepare Properly For The Start Of The Season
Don't just grab your bag from the garage, complete with cobwebs and the mouldy remains of that banana you forgot to take out.
Get properly ready for the golf season by working out what you want to achieve and coming up with a plan to do just that. Whether that means a new training plan, contacting a local professional to get some pointers on which areas of your game to improve, or simply coming up with a better strategy to help you score well. Taking the time to make the right changes now could benefit you when your season gets underway.
A Great Chance To Get Fitter
Look at the golfers who top the World Rankings at the moment - Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson - and you will notice that they are all athletes. This has been a growing trend since the late 1990s, when the likes of Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh really revolutionised the way that golfers trained.
How often can you say that you have honestly done any golf-specific fitness or training? Perhaps now is the time. Get yourself fitter and you should get stronger and faster, which may help you gain a few yards and stay fresher further into your round.
There are countless resources online providing golf-specific plans, such as MyTPI, which should get you fitter and help you play some better golf this summer.
Work On Your Game
Struggling with controlling your face during the putting stroke? Poor balance in your swing? Want to get used to a new grip?
This is the PERFECT time to try and work on improving your fundamentals. There are thousands of videos and tips online, with a full instruction series coming to Golfalot very soon!
Alternatively, you can contact your local golf pro with some clips of your swing or putting stroke, and ask them to give you some pointers. That way, you can hit the ground running and improve before the courses are even open again.
Positive For Golf Clubs
Busy Golf Clubs This Summer
Yes, plenty of golf clubs are bound to feel the pinch over the next few weeks but hopefully this break will mean that members will be even more keen to come in and use the course and facilities when these strict measures are lifted, providing them with a much-needed boost.
Plenty of golfers will be wanting to catch up with friends over a round of golf, and perhaps grab a drink and some food in the bar afterwards, whilst the Pro Shop may also benefit from golfers looking to get their equipment sorted for the start of the season proper.
There may even be a spike in new members, with people desperate to get out and enjoy some nicer weather after being stuck in their homes for a lengthy period of time.
More Time To Improve Golf Course Condition
This is a bonus not only for golf clubs, but for golfers like us too! It is also especially true now considering the fact that greenkeepers are going to be allowed to carry on working despite the lockdown.
That means that your golf courses are going to get a much-needed break from golfers for a few weeks, whilst the staff are still working hard on its condition. Combine this with some warmer weather which should hopefully be on the way, and your course might be unrecognisable the next time you tee it up again!
What do you plan to do during this break to make sure you are ready for the upcoming golfing season? Let us know below!