As shelter-in-place restrictions ease across the country, many golf courses are back in business, and both newbies to the game and old hands are lining up to hit the links.
Corey Roberson, director of golf at the Cordillera Ranch outside of San Antonio, Texas, says golf facilities are taking many steps to keep golfers safe during the covid-19 outbreak, including removing touch-points and sanitizing golf carts.
“One of the things golfers need to be mindful of is social distancing before, after and during the round,” he says. “Not shaking hands after a round of golf is a bit unnatural, but if you are constantly reminding yourself of social distancing it helps limit those interactions. For people who are playing for the first time in a while, make sure you stretch or hit a few balls before your round — your body will thank you after you walk off the 18th green.”
Golf coach Dave Pelz, known for his books on the art of the short game, particularly putting, adds that during this time it’s best to play in twosomes. “Four can get too busy and you may accidentally get too close together without realizing it,” he says.
Pelz, who’s also the founder of Dave Pelz Scoring Schools, recommends using your own cart, keeping a 10-foot distance from everyone all day, and not touching any common doorknobs, handles, chairs, etc. “Tap your own chest to send greetings and regards, hold it to send love,” he adds. “Enjoy your time outdoors and laugh, but don’t get careless and get close or touch.”
If you’re new to the game, consider used clubs, Pelz says. He recommends buying from a golfer who is the same height as you, if possible. “Golf clubs are easy to clean and disinfect, and are great bargains,” he says. “Cleveland, Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping and Tour Edge are all good candidates.”
Ready to get back out there? We quizzed Roberson, Pelz and other golf experts on their favorite golf gear and equipment — from new clubs to bold shirts to indoor putting aids. Swing away!
Dave Pelz Putting Track ($99.99; worldwidegolfshops.com)
For golfers with space at home and cash to spare, Pelz partnered with SYNLawn to develop the Dave Pelz GreenMaker Putting Green System ($1,799, 14 feet by 8 feet; lowes.com), perfect for golfers of all ages and skill levels and available in four sizes. But if that’s not quite in the budget, try a putting track.
“A product like this will help to groove your putting stroke, which will help your accuracy and touch,” Pelz says. He also likes putting clips. “These attach to your putter face with a Mylar adhesive,” he says. “It provides perfect contact on the sweet spot and produces a normal roll. Contact towards the heel or toe sends the golf ball rolling askew.”
NoSweat Golf Hat Liner ($22.99; amazon.com)
Pro golfer Hailey Ostrom, who is based in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona, recommends the NoSweat hat liner for those who are active outdoors. “As warmer months are approaching, we are more likely to sweat on the golf course,” she says. “A NoSweat hat liner will help eliminate the risk of touching your face by preventing sweat from dripping down your forehead.”
Puma SoundChuck Mini Bluetooth Speaker ($79.99; worldwidegolfshops.com)
Ostrom says that while there’s a seemingly constant influx of new “must-have” golf equipment each year, she has really noticed more and more Bluetooth speakers on the course. “The game is evolving and attracting a younger audience,” she says. “Having the latest speaker that not only plays your favorite jams, but also conveniently clips onto your golf cart, is the hottest new trend right now.”
Nikon Coolshot 20 GII Rangefinder ($185.95, originally $199.95; amazon.com)
New golfers, Ostrom notes, already have their hands full trying to learn a challenging game, so adding in gear and equipment that will help improve their skills will only make the experience more enjoyable.
“I recommend an easy-to-use rangefinder, such as the Nikon Coolshot,” she says. “Learning how far you hit your clubs is one of the more challenging parts for beginners. A rangefinder leaves less room for error and helps to keep the pace on the course — a godsend for everyone!”
Eyeline Golf Putting Alignment Mirror ($29.52, originally $39.95; amazon.com)