As I monitor events from the GVOHQ (Golf Virus Organization Headquarters) in the 3rd floor bedroom/office of my home overlooking the golf course at Lakewood Country Club) I am deeply pondering the thought: Can I crush this virus or is it crushing me? I’m an IT jockey and am trying to concentrate for work, and of course am very thankful to be employed, but am stuck in the isolating world of work from home (WFH). Yesterday was day seven in our business continuity plan, and I was starting to get antsy on Thursday. I had the same feeling back in the blizzard of 2010 when I worked six straight from the house. You know, you get cooped up, gotta get some outside air and are tired of looking at the inside walls. But this is different. Every TV channel you turn to provides ample anxiety building virus coverage – “Practice safe this, don’t go here, don’t go there, close businesses, and socially distance yourself from everyone.” I am one of those guys who distrusts the media and understands they thrive on this stuff and will run it as long as people consume. “If it bleeds it leads, ” so why am I consuming? Remember how long the news cycle lasted for OJ and Malaysia Air Flight 370? They just couldn’t let it go and this is 50 times worse, plus there are no sports to distract us.
From a human physiology and psychological aspect, isolation can be damaging. Taken to the extreme, it can be viewed as cruel and unusual punishment (solitary confinement). The mental and physical damage of isolation is real and everyone has different limits. We as humans isolate ourselves more and more every day with our text messaging, internet connectivity, and on-line social networks. Let’s be clear, connecting over devices may feel like connecting but it’s not the same as connecting face to face. We are social beings and need direct interaction with our fellow man. Not saying it cannot be done in this climate, just that I am struggling with it. What to do?
Thursday, I had enough, and after work, went out to my home club for some practice. Wow how refreshing! The parking lot was ¾ full as was the range and there was a steady stream of groups going out to play. In short, it seemed like business as usual, if you ignored the closed snack bar and lack of rakes in the bunkers. I asked the guy behind the desk how the tee sheet looked, with all this virus stuff, and he replied in one word, “packed.” I have to admit, that the glimpse of normalcy filled me with optimism and I thoroughly enjoyed the couple hours spent working on my game.
My concern: Every day restrictions on the area courses are getting tighter. Our local group of nine municipal courses had removed bunker rakes, coolers, and closed food service – all good. Yesterday, they notified that no carts would be used for the foreseeable future – still okay with that. They also notified that cups would be set to prevent balls from going in the hole (raised) and that flagsticks could not be removed. I viewed this as excessive and sent them a note detailing my concerns. Another course on the eastern shore (Baywood Greens) had sent an email detailing their restrictions which included removing flags. I sent them an email complaining that without flags, we wouldn’t be playing golf, and they relented, but are playing with raised holes. Where to draw the line? You need to let common sense take over. Unless the state shuts all the courses down, you still gotta let people play golf at their own discretion and keep the game recognizable.
I realize the situation is fluid and is only getting worse. If they close all our courses and mandate a shut in strategy with marshal law (hopefully it doesn’t come to that), my strategy is to walk to the adjacent school field, and pound pitching wedges at my bag shag. I’m sure we’ll be allowed outside for trips to the grocery store, to walk the dog, and exercise.
In the meantime, try and cut our leaders some slack and know that they’re trying to balance the tough dichotomy of protecting the public health and maintaining our economic well-being. We’re all going through this for the first time, including our leaders, and the blame first mentality helps nobody.
Stay well, and play well!