I'm not pontificating. Just sayin.
We all know that the Pandemic is real, that COVID-19 is serious, and that our "Normal" is now the "New Normal".
Golf's new normal isn't golf as usual and like the good old days, but it is what it is in a new set of times.
Golf courses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Maryland, as well as about 30 other states, were closed for months as Governor's developed game plans on how to deal with the disease. To reopen, golf course management teams followed federal and state guidelines to have the ability to safely reopen their operations to play golf.
Some went to non-touch payments, requiring pre-payments for green's fees, no cash exchanged, limited food and beverage services, masks inside buildings, cleaning of golf carts after usage. Golfers were greeted with immovable golf flags with plastic inserts in cups, single players in carts, and after the round no handshakes.
We were told to social distance, to be smart, and to do everything in our power to keep players safe. Without saying, it was also a test of sorts as to whether golf clubs could continue to remain open for pay in these trying times.
Which brings us to a point that came to the forefront on my drive for playing 1,000 golf courses. I'm over 900 played, and always looking for a new challenge on the road to 1,000.
There I was, playing at an unnamed layout, with two guys. We were joined together at the first tee, and they seemed to be fun, normal guys. Expected was a nice day on the golf course. Unexpected was the political dialogue surrounding the pandemic.
You see, these two guys insisted on removing the flagstick when on the putting surface.
"I hate leaving the flagstick in," said one.
"It's not golf if you leave flagstick in on putts," said the other.
I was outnumbered and flabbergasted and, well, concerned.
You see, we know there are little things that can mushroom into problematic situations. I mentioned to the two that the course pro said not to remove flagsticks upon arriving at the course. These two said who cares, bringing the Bill of Rights into the conversation.
While I'm no scholar, I don't thing the Founding Fathers had such thoughts in mind when they were putting the document together. I mentioned that not complying with the stated new mode of operating could lead to a disabling of playing privileges for others or worse.
They could care less, as they were in the "it doesn't pertain to me" mood.
Seeing reason would lose as an argument, I went along with their protest but didn't touch the flagstick at any time. To tick them off, I'd ask them to put the flagstick back in when I was putting, which infuriated them to no end. So much so they'd put first, out of turn, in sequence before I could putt.
At least I got to see how the putts were breaking, but it was unnerving hearing them, after putting out, walking to their carts while I was still working on the putting green.
Oh well. Small price and point to pay. Bottom line. Be aware of the COVID guidelines because you know that, if these are "broken" government types could pull the plus and nobody will be allowed to play golf. That would be a really bad thing.
Try and socially distance. Wear masks when near others, avoiding groups. Have some fun while you make the best of a bad situation.