Fairways and greens! The golf industry not only survived the pandemic but thrived in it. One of the few sports where social distancing existed before the start of Covid, only courses in states with the strictest lockdown procedures suffered.
COVID hurt a lot of sports. According to NBC, it completely destroyed over 90 sports programs from 26 different colleges and universities. With people stuck at home starting in March 2020 and the weather only getting nicer, golf seemed like one of the best activities one could do outdoors in a public health crisis. Sure, it was difficult for a lot of courses to let players golf all 18 holes due to the pandemic, but that did not stop golf from becoming a new passion for thousands throughout 2020.
We talk to Corey Kruger, a PGA professional at the Estancia Club in Arizona, about how the business side of golf was booming. Jessica Haraden, student-athlete on Nebraska’s women’s golf team, goes through how playing women’s golf for a school was in the pandemic. Finally, Dann Husmann, Ph.D., director of the PGA Management major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, talks about the student interest in golf going down the PGA road at UNL.
“We have had to hire a lot more people to accommodate the increase in people playing golf during Covid,” Kruger said.
To explain how golf differed in lock down procedures between states and what playing golf for the university during COVID was like, Haraden said, “In California, even on the range you need to wear a mask, no putting greens, and a lot more procedure.” Nebraska courses are not as strict, and players do not lose that much access.
To discuss the future of the PGA management major at UNL, Hussman, said, “We trust the leadership at the PGA of America to give us structure and how things will proceed with protocol to understand and handle what is next.”
The best way to get outside and do something during this time is playing a sport that has one of the lowest probabilities of contracting Covid. For many, golf is and will be that sport.