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GCQ – Golf Community Quarantine

George S. Chua

George S. Chua

Our golf community is certainly happy that under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ), golf is now one of the allowed sports. Why has golf been under so much scrutiny and is this justifiable? First of all, it has been a common misconception that golf is only reserved for the rich and hence is frowned upon by certain sectors with disdain. To correct that misconception, just look at all the public golf courses such as Intramuros and Sun Valley and the military golf courses inside the military camps that is open to the public such as Villamor, Aguinaldo, Navy and Kagitingan. With green fees no more than what you would spend for good seats to watch a basketball game and knowing how many Filipinos from all walks of life watch it, there is no truth that golf is only for the rich.

Even before the global pandemic, golf has already been a sport that practices social distancing. The sport does not call for players to be in contact with each other and given the size of the golf course, even the compact ones, with say an average of one hectare a hole, the population density would be less than one person per 1,000 sqm. That is assuming you had the absolute maximum of 5 players in the flight with 5 caddies or 10 people per hectare, which is 10,000 sqm.

In addition, golf is an outdoor sport with a lot of fresh air, and sunshine. Players also do not share the same equipment or come in contact with a common ball. Only the caddy comes in contact with the player indirectly through his equipment, and this is easily remedied by frequent sanitation with the use of alcohol spray, hand washing and various disinfectants. The wearing of sanitized gloves by the caddy is also a preventive measure and in some cases doing away with caddies altogether is another alternative.

Golf provides the much needed mental and physical exercise most needed by senior players who have more limited alternatives to their exercise and outdoor activity options. You would really be hard pressed to come up with a better and less risky activity than golf. Other sports would not have as much social distancing as golf. Walking in your neighborhood or the roads nearby will most likely mean encountering more people than when playing in the golf course. Certainly, going to the supermarkets, wet markets, drug stores and other business establishments will have a higher density of people, smaller confined space and more common surfaces to come in contact with than in a golf course!

Knowing that there would be limited or no better alternative than playing golf, you would think that the government would try to encourage as many people as possible to spend more time in the golf course than crowding out the other alternatives. However, it is surprising that additional social distancing requirements are being imposed such as only 3 people to a flight, intervals of 15 minutes, and only 1 person per cart. The effort of government in regulating crowding, social distancing, the use of PPE and other rules would be better focused on areas that really need it, where there is a lot of crowding, sanitation issues and a high incidence rate of infection.

Sadly people who follow the law tend to be me more heavily regulated with the imposition of more and more rules. An example that comes to mind is the great difficulty and cost of firearm ownership where you have to get a license, a separate firearms registration for each firearm and a totally different permit to take your gun out of your house, with each of these requiring the submission of all sorts of documents, completing requirements, lining up in various lines and the payment of so many different fees. Criminals on the other hand get away with everything because they don’t bother registering their guns, but that is another story.

(Comments may be sent to georgechuaph@yahoo.com)


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://business.mb.com.ph/2020/06/24/gcq-golf-community-quarantine/)

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