Golf Thrives Despite Pandemic

Ty Maxwell, 12, practices his putting on the green.

Photo by Madison Moyer

Ty Maxwell, 12, practices his putting on the green.

Zach Planche and Landry Parlin

All major sporting events were cancelled in the beginning of quarantine. Golf was one of, if not the first, to come back. Both boys’ and girls’ golf teams have been able to practice with minimal changes. Head Girls Coach Scott Parlin attributes this to the natural flow of the game.

“Players always use their own clubs and balls so there has been little need for sanitation,” Parlin said. “ [They] are always walking to their golf ball so they are automatically social-distanced.”

Though minimal, the alterations have not gone unnoticed. 

“Many [players] like to remove the pins before they putt, as well as pick up the golf ball up and smooth the area if it goes into one of the bunkers,” Parlin said. “But almost everything else has been pretty normal as possible.”

Since the pandemic, golf rounds have been up nearly 20%. Coach Parlin credits the pandemic for bringing popularity back to the sport. 

“Golf was one of the first “things” to return due to COVID,” Parlin said. “It’s an outdoor sport that is always socially distanced, and no equipment is shared. It was also the first professional sport to return when the first professional event was played the week of June 12th in Ft. Worth, TX.”

Golf is just about the most socially distanced sport there is. Because of this, not much has had to change in practice. Senior Ty Maxwell believes the main adjustment has been with travel. 

“One of the most difficult adjustments we have to do is not not travel because of COVID, so now we can’t travel as far and have to drive to every tournament,” Maxwell said. 

Many of the changes UIL has implemented only affect the team traveling to and during tournaments against other schools. Head Boys Coach Christopher Word says the biggest changes have been made to tournaments.

“We previously traveled to nearly all our events to play specific courses and against the toughest competition;  now we have a limited number of events,” Word said. “We are no longer allowed to travel outside of DFW for events, so our entire schedule has been altered.”

With all considered, as long as the team follows new protocol, the players and coaches will stay safe and finish their season.

“Golf has remained open throughout the entire pandemic and has not been the source of any outbreaks that I’ve seen or read,” Word said. “I’m hoping to complete our season on schedule and without further restrictions.”

The mindset going into the season has not changed. Senior Cooper Waddell is convinced the season will be good.

“Our coach has still managed to put us in the best local events to satisfy the conditions we must play in,” Waddell said. “This will still be a great season without a doubt.”

No decision regarding sports stays permanent, though. Coach Parlin and the staff remain unsure of what to expect going forward.

“None of this really makes it harder, just different,” Parlin said. “[We’re] not sure what our district tournament will do since that is not until April.”