The COVID-19 pandemic will go down in our lifetimes as one of the most significant events – if that’s the right word – that we’ve encountered. Businesses and schools were closed, livelihoods and life savings were lost, all in an attempt to stem the outbreak. I will admit that my opinion on how we and other nations handled the virus probably doesn’t square with what most people think, so I’ll keep my specific thoughts to myself. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am not dismissing the many lives lost to the virus. It is a tragedy of epic proportions and I truly have great empathy and sympathy for those families and friends mourning the loss of loved ones. But I also have great empathy and sympathy for those whose futures have been permanently compromised due to the mitigation strategies employed here and elsewhere. Unfortunately, it seems that there were truly no good choices in how to handle this. As with anything, life goes on. And I’ve been lucky enough to see an uptick in my teaching business at Southbridge Savannah Golf Course in – where else? – Savannah, Georgia. People have been seeking healthy outdoor activities, and golf has been one beneficiary. This has translated into people wanting to improve their games. Hopefully, my fellow teachers have experienced this, too. Is this golf “bounce” permanent, or at least long-lasting? I hope so, and I believe so. The same things that drew us to the game are drawing new people to the sport and also reclaiming long-lost golfers who abandoned the game in search of career success. But in talking to some of these people who have come back to the game after a years-long absence, I get the sense that they now realize life is more than about chasing the almighty dollar. Sure, earning money is important, but it seems that these people realize they have earned enough to start enjoying the fruits of their labors. We stand to benefit in the coming years, and by putting forth our best efforts, we can help assure the well being of our sport for a long time. By Mark Harman, USGTF National Course Director
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