Golf and the Covid Equation

And why the death of golf has been greatly exaggerated

“Good morning,” I said as the door opened, revealing a young woman pulling her mask up over her mouth. She hesitated, looking at the variety of golf attire, clubs, and accessories in the pro shop. As she made her way to the counter, I could see the smile in her eyes. “Welcome,” I continued. “How may I help you?”

“Hi,” she replied. “My son and I needed to get out of the house, and we’re just glad that we’re able to come here. It’s been a while.”

small child 2020IT’S BEEN AWHILE – The most spoken response in golf pro shops across the country. Well, in Michigan, anyway. While the Coronavirus has had a devastating affect on the economy at large, it has resulted in a surprising uptick for a select few businesses—one being golf courses.

Although, it didn’t start out that way. Back in early April, golf courses were on the same lockdown mandated by the Governor of Michigan, as most other businesses. But with the argument that golf is an outdoor activity that requires little to no physical interaction between players, the golf course industry was soon granted a refreshing pass by Governor Whitmer. As people rejoiced, owners of golf courses, quickly saw a return to business as usual. However, they were not prepared for what happened next…

GOLF EXPLODED.

Families that once enjoyed taking their children to the beach or bowling alley, or even the city park, were suddenly met with CLOSED signs and warning tape encasing park playgrounds. With limited options, Mom and Dad found their old clubs hiding in the basement, dusted off the driver, and said, “Kids, we’re going golfing.” And as bars struggle to remain open, young adults are finding that golfing with friends is a safe, healthy and entertaining alternative to the bar scene.

The golf industry had been declining in growth as the younger demographic chose different sports and activities from what their parents enjoyed. Many country clubs that once thrived, were struggling to remain open, and golf courses were quickly turning into housing developments.

And then came Covid-19.

Only time will tell if the growth of golf continues after the pandemic subsides, but as I send another family with young children onto the course already bustling with many other families and friends enjoying this great sport, something tells me we just might be growing the next Tiger Woods.

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Women’s LifeStyle. Look for her debut novel, Chasing North Star in September 2020. Follow Heidi at https://heidimccrary.net/ and https://www.facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor

Still a Man’s World

“My name is Heidi McCrary,” I explained to the guy on the other end of the phone. I was calling the pro shop at a popular golf course in the area, looking for a well-known golf instructor.  “If you could please have him call me. I would like to buy a set of clubs.” I left the gentleman my number and waited.

GolfAnd waited.

Now, the golf clubs I wanted to purchase weren’t your run-of-the mill starter set purchased at Dick’s. No, after 20 years of honing his craft with his current set, my husband was deserving of a new set. Clubs that are cutting edge and using technology invented yesterday, with newer models coming out tomorrow—all so a golfer can add five yards to his or her swing.

And to be clear, this transaction is not an inconvenience to any business. I was about to spend A CRAZY amount of money on my husband’s birthday present, so, after the second day of not having my call returned, I decided that it was their loss and moved on.

Which took me to the local golf range and retail center…

“I’m sorry,” the man said to me, from behind the counter as he looked at the computer screen. “They don’t make that model anymore.” He handed me back the slip of paper which listed the desired brand and model name along with specifics.

I took the paper back, and looked at him, about to ask him what he would recommend. But instead, I stopped myself. “Thank you,” I said, walking out the door.

Which finally lead me to a small public course located just outside the city limits. Managed by a female golf pro and her husband, I was greeted by a smile as I walked in the shop. As I handed the golf pro my slip of paper, I explained my dilemma of trying to make a purchase.

“No problem,” she said, looking up the model number on her computer. “I’m afraid that model has been discontinued. I would suggest we look at the newest model that seems to have replaced that one.”

And THAT’S customer service.

“You know why you got the run-around, right?” she said, handing me back the slip of paper. “Because you’re a woman.”

And she was absolutely right.

Hold my Wine While I Putt

heidi-mediocre-golfer-e1525227933147.jpgMaybe it was the nine-iron that Elin Woods lovingly planted into the side of Tiger’s Jeep as her world-famous husband tried to flee the scene that made me realize that women and men view golf quite differently.

As Tiger Woods’ fall from grace parlayed into his disappearance from televised golf tournaments, public interest in golf fell as well. Couple that with the fact that women currently make up little more than 20% of all golfers, and you can see that golf has a P.R. problem—and along with it, an opportunity. What if women took control of the game, gave it a long-needed makeover and made it their own?”

Women, I’m talking to you—if you have EVER thought about getting involved in a sport that is healthy, fun, challenging, social, and something you can do while drinking, have I got the sport for you.

Here are four random things that might make you consider picking up a set of clubs…

  • If there was ever a sport that gives women an advantage, it’s golf. So much so, that at times, the women’s tees can give women an extreme advantage over men. Because of the placement of many women’s tees, men would win more golf scrambles if it occurred to them to put a woman on their team.
  • If you’re looking for a sport that you and your significant other can enjoy together without either one of you wanting to kill each other at the end of the round, this is your lucky day because in golf, you’re technically not playing each other—you’re trying to best your own score.
  • Golf can fit into your schedule AND your lifestyle. If you’re anything like me, nine holes is all you have the time and patience for. I can do eighteen, I just don’t want to. Golf is the perfect sport because you can make it a social thing with friends, a networking outing with clients or simply embrace the tranquility of what golf has to offer by going out on your own.
  • You can grow old doing this. There’s a reason why a lot of old people golf…because they can! Golf is more about finesse than strength, and a sport that you can take up at ANY age. There are wonderful female golf instructors in the area. Call one and give it a try!

And then there are the perks of golf—nice apparel, cool gadgets and cup holders on golf carts. Just remember… Golf bags come in a multitude of colors. Don’t limit yourself to pink just because a man in the design department at Callaway thinks women can’t possibly want a blue, black or orange bag.

See you on the green.

Hurry… While Supplies Last

It’s common practice for online companies to suggest products based on past purchases or web searches, so it didn’t surprise me to find an email in my inbox from Amazon. With my marketing background, I’m totally good with that.

And then I look at the product Amazon thought I would like… My Sack Photo

Amazon reasoned that because I’m a woman who viewed golf bags on their site, surely, I would be interested in this fine golf accessory. I know it’s intended to be funny, but it falls flat on so many levels…

  • The sack emulates a part of the human anatomy I do not possess.
  • Someone in the marketing department made it pink so women would naturally gravitate to it. I know it was a man because no woman would come up with this product idea.
  • They’ve included pink golf balls in the off-chance that the sack isn’t enticing enough.
  • And just in case women still aren’t hitting the “order” button, they display it hanging on a pink-accented golf bag because, well, you know.

According to the description, there is only one left so hurry while supplies last. Women around the world can only hope they’ll be restocking soon.

Heidi McCrary / Writer