Commentary, Men's Golf, Sports

Why golf could, and should, be the first self-isolated sport to return

Most sports demand face-to-face competition when going up against opponents. In light of the coronavirus pandemic shutting down leagues nationwide, many sports fans have been yearning for something to not only watch, but also play.

Golf is a sport that can be easily spread out and played in self-isolation, whereas sports such as football or basketball require physical contact in order to conduct the game correctly.

It’s much easier to reduce the risk of infection by playing separate holes on a sprawling course than it is preventing infection while a nose-tackle in the NFL fills the A-gap against a running back charging full speed ahead.

“I would 100 percent say that golf would be a lot easier to come back then you know football, baseball or basketball,” sophomore and former 2019 Big West Freshman of the Year Tyler Schafer said.

The cancellation of collegiate competition came on March 13, 10 days before the Long Beach State golf team was set to compete in the Duck Invitational in Eugene, Oregon.

“You can have the entire team do the same thing and not be right next to each other. … You can have a golf tournament without fans, all the guys are aware, and will keep their distance.,” Schafer added. “You can still have a golf tournament.”

Even if it’s at a driving range, golfers can still spread out as they practice on different tee mats or separate putting greens.

“It was shocking to me to see all these golf courses closed,” Schafer said. “There are other things that are open, for golf you don’t really have to be around people.”

Texas and Arizona have reopened golf courses, allowing people to play while enforcing social distancing practices.

“You can drive down to Arizona and every golf course is open there,” the Long Beach native said. “I still haven’t played a round of golf [since the shelter-in-place order]. I don’t even know if we will play a tournament this summer, everything is on pause.”

With the spring season cut short nearly a month before the Big West Conference championship April 26, the players were left without closure on the season.

“It was disappointing,” Schafer said. “I didn’t have a great fall season, it was just average, but as a team we had a good fall.”

Schafer shot two-over par and tied for 28th place in the individual round of the Lamkin San Diego Classic. It was Schafer’s best round of the year, and also the last tournament for the Beach before its season ended.

“I had to work really hard to get back on to the traveling [team],” Schafer said. “As I finally got back on the travel team and finished first on the team that week in San Diego, that’s when everything got canceled.”

Despite Schafer earning his way back on the travel team right before the season came to a halt, he still looks to compete with his teammates at a high level as quickly as possible while following health care professionals’ advice and perfecting his craft in self-isolation.

“We trust each other that we’re not doing anything stupid or going out to any highly populated places right now,” Schafer said. “I’d rather take extra precautions now instead of regretting it later.”

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