Golf Helping Take People’s Minds Off Coronavirus Pandemic

Printed from:

With a coronavirus pandemic largely dictating the way people live their lives in Massachusetts, leisure activities outside of the house are limited.

College and pro sports seasons are suspended; restaurants and bars are now takeout-only; and movie theatres are shut down.

But the golf course is one place where people can take their minds off of the pandemic.

Gatherings of 25 or more are banned in the Bay State, but it’s not a problem for courses like Green Harbor Golf Club in Marshfield, Ridder Farm Golf Club in East Bridgewater, and Southers Marsh in Plymouth, among others.

The courses are taking safety precautions to minimize the risk of people spreading coronavirus, course staff member say.

An employee of Ridder Farm Golf Course told New Boston Post that golf carts, pull carts, rental clubs, and the golf simulator are unavailable and the club will sell only prepackaged foods. The club advises people to maintain social distancing while playing.

“They do a good job with it,” Steve Kailher, 52, of Whitman told New Boston Post as he left the course on Wednesday afternoon this week. “If you walk in the pro shop, there’s nothing to grab at or touch. The girls that are checking everyone in are wearing gloves. As far as the course, if you’re putting the ball within six feet of each other, you should be partners playing with each other all the time. But very rarely are you right next to anyone.”

With no baseball in sight, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Manny Delcarmen, who serves as an analyst on NESN before and after Red Sox games, also squeezed in a round of golf earlier this week at Ridder.

“It was good to get out. I was able to play with a couple of my buddies and see some friendly faces,” Delcarmen, an East Bridgewater resident, told New Boston Post in a telephone interview. “The fresh air I think is good. In golf, we’re not really high fiving and shaking hands. I’m just glad Ridder is still open because I think it’s gonna get worse before it gets better, so I’m hoping they don’t close down.”

“It stinks because the weather’s getting nice, so people are gonna want to be outside,” he added. “If this keeps getting worse, we might be forced to stay inside the house. It’s not that I don’t agree with it. We gotta take this seriously.”

Mike Dunderdale, 20, of Hanover was also among those to play a round of golf on Wednesday. A member of the Wesleyan University men’s hockey team, Dunderdale is back home because the school’s in-person classes have been cancelled for the rest of the spring semester.

“There’s not a lot of options right now, especially indoors, but golf is a sport where you can stay relatively separated from each other and enjoy a nice day,” he told New Boston Post as he left the course on Wednesday, March 18. “Given the situation and the social distancing stuff, it’s one of the better options.”

“I think it’s a common hobby for a lot of people of all ages,” he added. “It’s one of the few sports where you’re not all in an enclosed area, so I think we’ll see more people coming out this spring.”

In taking these sorts of precautions to allow people to keep golfing, Ridder is not alone.

Green Harbor Golf Club’s web site says it closed its lounge and internal restrooms; express checkout will be used to limit contact between customers and staff; golfers will be encouraged to leave the pin in when putting; pull cart handles will be disinfected between uses; the club will manage the tee box; and golfers are expected to keep at least six feet apart from one another.

And Southers Marsh’s web site says the club will not be pairing strangers together for twosomes or foursomes; the golf carts will be sterilized between uses; dine-in food and beverage services are suspended; bunker rakes and divot boxes have been removed from the course; and club staff members will be wiping down door handles, surfaces, faucet handles, and other touch surfaces frequently.

“We feel people can hold true to the principles of social distancing and play golf at the same time,” Southers Marsh owner Will Stearns wrote in a post on the course’s web site.

“We are hoping we can offer a small haven with some sense of normalcy in this crazy world.”


The American flag still flies and the water hazard still beckons golf balls at Ridder Farm Golf Course in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, as in this photo taken Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Photo by Tom Joyce for New Boston Post.