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calendar   Tuesday - March 24, 2020

Ringer Golf Is The New Thing.

Hey, some good news for a change.

Golf: The Allowed Activity

USGA temp rule: no more lip-outs; cups lifted 2” to eliminate contamination contact

Well, until all the courses shut down, obviously

As recently as a week ago, recreational golfers flocked to the fairways of public and private golf courses as a respite from stay-at-home guidelines and lifestyle prohibitions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Golf, with its wide open spaces, still seemed safe.

In New Jersey’s Somerset County, the five municipal golf courses recorded 6,501 golf rounds in the first 19 days this month, a 300 percent increase over the number of rounds played in all of March last year. A similar surge in play, with players observing social distancing and other limits on close interactions, was happening all over the United States.

“The turnout almost overwhelmed us,” said Matt Kammeyer, the director of golf for Salt Lake City’s seven courses. “Just a lot of happy, grateful people enjoying a round.”

This week, it increasingly appears that golf’s reprieve was short-lived. With stricter measures on public gatherings, our games, like everything else, live in realms of past and present.

Over the weekend, dozens of cities and counties overseeing hundreds of golf facilities closed or indefinitely suspended play on their courses, usually at the direction of government agencies. That included the courses in Somerset County and in Salt Lake City and at some Trump resort properties. Scores of courses remain open, but every day the roll call of shuttered golf complexes mushrooms.

For a while last week, the pandemic had spurred a few notable changes in the recreational golf world that would have been unimaginable a month ago. For example, golfers seemed less prone to grumpily bemoan their poor shots, cruel bogeys and heartless bounces.

“Complaints are way down,” Bob Ransone, the deputy director of the Somerset park commission’s golf division, said Saturday before his operations were closed. “People are just too appreciative to be out in a beautiful environment.”

Walking the course instead of driving a golf cart had become a new norm, something many in golf have advocated — to no avail — for decades because of the health benefits.

And the customarily rigid United States Golf Association, warden of golf’s laborious rule book, even went out of its way last week to make the game, and its rules, easier.

To minimize contact between golfers, most courses had closed clubhouses and snack bars, removed bunker rakes and ball washers, gone caddie-less and encouraged the use of online payment options. But one unsanitary condition of play remained: After putting out, golfers had to stick their hands into golf holes to retrieve their ball, after dozens of golfers had done so before them.

Solutions proposed by golf superintendents soon abounded, including foam hole inserts that kept the ball near the top of the hole. Many golf courses even began raising the white liner cup, which is normally inserted into a hole, to about two inches above the ground. That way, an approaching ball could not fall into the hole but would instead bounce off the cup.

On Friday, the U.S.G.A. temporarily amended its rules to say that a ball bouncing off a cup in such a manner would count as a sunk putt for official scorekeeping.

Golf without close putts that pitilessly lip out? For a week, golfers had a new reason to smile.

So I guess ringers now count in golf, just like in horseshoes. What else could they do? Um, how about one of those grabber sticks on a pole? Some kind of thing with 3 spring steel graspers, like the small parts picker tools only longer? Or a plastic claw that attaches to your putter?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/24/2020 at 08:48 AM   
Filed Under: • Fun-StuffSports •  
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