—— ★★LATEST UPDATE!!★★ —— COVID-19 vs SBA Loan

LATEST UPDATE!!   The SBA resumes accepting PPP applications April 27, 2020. Golf Teaching Professionals that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to apply for these loans. As with the first wave of funds disbursed, these loans are being given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. We anticipate that this second wave of funds will be depleted very quickly as well!…….. For more information please contact the USGTF national office at 1-772-595-6490.

Staying Safe on the Course

During the current COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, our world has certainly been turned upside-down, and golf is no exception. Professional golf has halted play, and courses – at least those that are allowed to stay open – are taking all or some the following measures to make playing the game as safe as possible:

  • Removing rakes and water coolers from the course
  • Raising the cup so the ball bounces off it on the putting green, or putting a pool noodle into the hole
  • Removing the flagstick entirely
  • One rider per golf cart
  • No shaking hands after the round
  • No food and beverage except for takeout
  • No congregating in the pro shop
  • Closing the clubhouse
  • While a number of infectious disease experts have weighed in that it is difficult to get sick from playing golf in normal conditions, the severity of the COVID-19 coronavirus in some people mandates that these extra precautions be taken. The USGA has also made some changes to allow scores played under these circumstances to be posted for handicap purposes. For example, in the case of raised cups so the ball bounces off them, the USGA has said that “the most likely score” can be recorded for that hole. Competitions that are still being held at various clubs are not required to use the traditional method of scorekeeping, where scorecards are exchanged and attested at the end of a round. And it’s okay to smooth a bunker and place your ball if that bunker has no rakes. Again, all scores played under these conditions are acceptable for handicap posting.

    It remains to be seen when things can return to normal when it comes to playing golf, not to mention returning to our normal way of living. Estimates range from mid-April all the way to next year. Obviously, we all hope for sooner rather than later. The game provides a healthy outlet in these most trying of times.

    USGTF Regional Action Still on Schedule

    The Southwest Region Championship, originally scheduled for March 27-29, has been rescheduled with a new location. It is scheduled for late May and the hope is that the COVID-19 coronavirus situation has been resolved by then to allow tournament competition and travel to safely resume. The USGTF will wait until the last feasible moment to cancel or postpone any future events, as we believe that doing so too far in advance might turn out to be unnecessary. We will also take into account players’ travel plans when making any such decisions.

    To register for this event, please contact Southwest Regional Director, Bruce Sims at (214) 475-5168 or bsims@pga.com.

    US Cup On Tap For Vegas – New Location!

    The 25th annual United States Golf Teachers Cup and the 4th annual United States Senior Golf Teachers Cup will be contested Monday and Tuesday, October 19-20 at Revere Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nevada.This year will once again feature a concurrent pro-am, where USGTF participants are encouraged to bring an amateur partner with a format akin to the PGA Tour event played every February at Pebble Beach.(Please note: Bringing an amateur partner is not required to be able to participate in either Cup tournament.) Both the Lexington and Concord courses will be used for the competition.

    Las Vegas is the premier vacation spot in the United States and boasts numerous amenities. Registration will soon open at www.UnitedStatesGolfTeachersCup.com.

    The “MATCH” and “The REMATCH”

    In days of yore, it was common for touring professionals to barnstorm the country between events, playing exhibition matches against their fellow competitors or the local hotshots. These matches often drew large galleries to see the best players in the world compete on their home course.

    In 2018, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson staged “The Match,” a would-be pay-per-view match with the winner taking home the entire $9 million “purse.” A technical snafu resulted in The Match being made available free for everyone. Mickelson wound up prevailing in extra holes.

    With the COVID-19 coronavirus sidelining all professional sports for the moment, A Twitter follower of Mickelson tweeted, “Do you think there is a chance you two go play a round mic’d up with one camera guy and just put it out there on a stream for people to watch?? We need live sports.” Mickelson tweeted back that they were working on it and to stay tuned.

    Speculation is that such a match could raise funds for much-needed medical equipment, for first responders and those on the front lines. Mickelson seemed confident that such a match will be held, and as he said, stay tuned.

    Liability Insurance Available to USGTF Members

    The USGTF, through Lanier Upshaw Inc and RPS Bollinger, can provide its members $1,000,000 of liability insurance with a $3,000,000 aggregate and no deductible. This important, affordable coverage protects you while performing your duties as a golf teaching professional.

    The annual premium is just $110 and is insurance no USGTF teaching professional can afford to be without.

    For more information, please contact Cathy Fonseca at (800) 350-8005, ext. 8124, or through e-mail at Cathy.Fonseca@BollingerInsurance.com.

    “PRO” File – Touring Professional Mickey Wright

    Ben Hogan once said she had the finest swing in golf, male or female. She is considered to this day by many to be the best player in LPGA history. We are talking about the late Kathryn Mary “Mickey” Wright, who captured 82 LPGA titles along with 13 major championships. The golf world lost a giant when she passed away in February.

    Wright grew up in California and turned professional in 1955 to join the then-fledgling LPGA Tour. Among her many accomplishments, she led the LPGA Tour money list four straight years from 1961-64, won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average five times, and, long before Tiger Woods did it, Wright held all four women’s major championships at the same time in 1961-62 (US Women’s Open, LPGA Championship, Titleholders Championship, Women’s Western Open).

    Due to foot problems and other factors, Wright semi-retired in 1969 at the age of 34, but still played in select events for the next several years. She lived for years only a three-minute drive from the former USGTF National Office in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

    EDITORIAL – Golf Teachers May See A Coming Boom

    Most of life in America has come to a halt as the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak dominates every aspect. Many businesses, including golf courses, have been forced to close in order to stem the number of cases. Golf teachers and coaches have surely felt the impact, too, as “social distancing” has become the norm.

    The good news, I believe, is that once we can return to some semblance of normalcy, people will be eager to seek out that sense of normalcy. Some say that people will be reluctant to return to normal soon. I disagree. I think people will truly miss what they used to do. There may be an initial period of trepidation, but once our health and government officials have cleared us to resume our everyday activities, I think we’ll see people be more enthusiastic and appreciative of what we all take for granted.

    If nothing else, golfers tend to be fanatics about their sport. We could see courses packed like never before. This would represent a great opportunity for USGTF members to reap the benefits of this increase participation. After all, no one wants to play bad golf. If your lesson book fills up quickly after the all-clear is given, don’t be surprised.

    By Mark Harman, USGTF National Course Director