By: Bro. Danny Silbor, BCBP Makati
I had just paid annual dues for my Senior Federation card at a nearby golf course. Php 3,500 paid at the end of February 2020. Then lockdown happened. I have not played since the CIGA (Christians in Golf Association) annual game in Malarayat early March. I am senior federation player, and I am asthma prone. These and all the things following are more than enough reasons for me to forget about playing for a while. Notwithstanding my new Federation card. New rules are already in place particularly about wearing mask, temperature checks, alcohol sprays, caddie and player distancing etc. These have made the rounds of many golfer viber groups so these rules are quite widespread amongst players.
Had we been playing in the US, many of these rules would have been unnecessary, since the players, there are used to playing without caddies. However, for the fabulously pampered Filipino Golfer, these rules are indeed life changing.
Are you always looking forward to the refreshing showers after your round, and that self-pampering locker room visit? Then there is the post-game bonding at the locker room where you boast or hide your scores. The camaraderie at the clubhouse, where you guys gather in one table and pretend you are still friends with your golf buddy, even if you had lost a lot of bet money in the last three holes. Were you also looking forward to the food and drinks that you will overeat even if it contradicts the exercise health goals you wanted to achieve in playing the game? Not all of these may be possible for now depending on your golf course new rules.
You see, for many local players, it is never about the just the golf. We also look to enjoy the after-game life. Locker rooms remain closed for now and golfers are encouraged to go home immediately after the game. That is why these new rules are life changing. I, for one, go thru 2 golf shirts in one game, and two fairway towels. In addition, I must shower immediately after a game since I sweat a lot. Lockers and showers are closed in any course as of this writing. These alone, other than the virus, was enough for me to forget about playing for a while. Besides I personally will not sit down for a meal unless I had showered. For those that do allow after game meals, the rules are to sit two tables apart. Friendly conversation is possible but with raised voices, short of shouting
The courses are have opened very carefully and wisely. Particularly, Malarayat, Summit and Orchard. Some not on a daily basis at first. Some members only at first. Then some had to close down for a few days to a week when they discovered that either a staff member or a player positive results in their Covid tests. Jobless caddies have eagerly joined the game with their own specific club imposed rules. Caddies practically do nothing now for the players but they need livelihood.. One caddy for two players; they cannot touch any of the players equipment or their golf balls; they must walk even if their players have a golf cart; plus the usual masks and distancing rules.
A few of my BCBP Makati CIGA buddies have selectively returned to game to relieve their separation pains from golf. Christians in Golf Association, is the Golf Team of BCBP Makati Chapter. A couple of buddies have jokingly said that their hands were literally trembling when they grasped their drivers for that first tee shot. Class B players had to work back their way to from a post ECQ score of over 100, down to the young 90´s d easily attributing that to the 3 month layoff. Some players after playing for two weeks decided to or stop of limit their playing when the covid cases went up. “Play safe muna ako.” Some are like me who decided not play for now since March. Some senior members declare that they will return to the game in 2021, next year.
I am happy for the players, who have returned to the game. However, as a veterinarian deep in the battle with another virus, African Swine fever in pigs, let me share common bio security principles that we impose to premises specially farms. I will try not to repeat the rules that continue to be reposted (to me, a good thing). Paranoia is good, even if friends and family laugh at you. Golf courses should at least have tyre baths, or overhead car sprays, but admittedly the 4 hours under sunlight’s UV light is a big thing in disinfection. If not doing this already, course´ staff should spray players bags and equipment at least require players to assure their disinfection. If I were using a golf cart, I’d have plenty of alcohol or Lysol to spray the steering wheels and the inside of the windshield (Paranoid you say? It is!). Stay four driver lengths (two meters) away from the next person, player or caddie. Distancing will make umbrella girls unnecessary. If the club unwisely offers fairway towels, stay away from them. Bring more than one mask so that the spare can be used in case the first mask gets drenched. In addition, as well bring extra masks in case your caddie does not have his own, or you suspect that the cloth mask she is wearing remains unwashed from yesterdays. Its worth it, as you are really protecting yourself. These, on top of the other club-imposed rules can help one achieve a healthier self when he returns to the game.
Keep abreast of Golf Clubs Bulletins, especially updates about players who tested positive for the week past. You might have been at that same course on the same day.
To end I offer quotations: First one of my favorites: “Be Patient, or BE A PATIENT”
And from Scripture on virtues of patience:
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke
Romans 8:2″But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. is better than the proud in spirit.”
I wish you guys a safe return to the game. Play wisely. Protect yourselves and the family you will rejoin once you get home.