Finding the light amidst the clouds

It’s safe to say that 2020 is proving to be one of the most difficult years in living memory. As I write this (in mid-March), Covid-19 / Coronavirus is running rampant across the planet, with people either locked-down, quarantined or brawling in the aisles for bathroom tissue.

This all followed the rampant bushfires and floods that ravaged many communities across Australia earlier in the year.

There is a high probability that some (or even many) businesses in Australia will not be able to survive the one-two punch of these two catastrophes. Indeed, for companies/clubs/businesses which may have already been struggling prior to this year, the last few months could be the final nail in their coffin.

Through all the doom and gloom, however, we see little sparks of hope emerging, which helps restore our faith in humanity. For every toilet paper punch-up at Woolies, we see people on Facebook offering to pick-up and drop-off basic necessities for the elderly. For every profit-monger who is hoarding hand sanitizer, we hear about neighbours going door to door to openly share food, nappies or pantry staples. And there are teachers and educators offering free online tutoring and games to keep our home-bound kids occupied.

And this is where the golfing community can begin to shine.

Recently, I heard about a group of Concord GC members that were about to embark on a weekend-golf-trip to Tumut GC, one of the many bushfire-affected NSW country clubs that are in dire need of support. Concord’s weekend of golf, dining and frivolity will provide a welcome injection of funds into Tumut’s coffers.  Clubs like Mallacoota GC in Victoria, and clubs along the South Coast of NSW are also benefitting from the warm support of other clubs across the country—courtesy of golf days and donations. (See this month’s Travel section for more on this).

If you or your club are keen to help out in a similar way, why not consider an “Adopt a Club weekend away”, where you contact a fire-affected club and offer to bring a small group down for a hit? It could be the difference between a club’s survival or demise.

If you’re not able to make or organise a similar trip in the immediate future, you can still help these local businesses from afar. It’s easy, for example, to make a quick phone call or website visit to a club in one of the affected regions, and purchase a gift certificate or voucher (if available) for 18 holes (or whatever you like), for use at a later time. This helps boost the finances of the club now, when they need it the most. You can then visit the club later, when travel is more convenient (or even allowed).

Let’s not forget that golf is potentially one of the safest sports available to us – it’s “non-contact”, played outdoors and in small groups. According to current advice (as of mid-March) by Golf Australia, the vast majority of golfers “can and should continue to visit your clubs or facility as per normal. Of course, golfers should exhibit a heightened awareness of personal hygiene as has been encouraged by state and federal health departments.”

By following the current guidelines and advice sent by Golf Australia and the Australian Department of Health (see links below, and check them often), we can all aim to stay healthy while enjoying the game we love, and even possibly assisting other clubs in their time of need.

So let’s continue to help each other out. Be a shining light in a dark time. Let’s band together, as an industry, and drive forward for the common good.

Stay safe, and (barring a country-wide lock-down or quarantine) I’ll see you on the fairways (from a safe “Social distance”)

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