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Certain sports are made for social distancing; others, not so much. Golf offers acres of wide outdoor spaces. Tennis courts are 78 feet long, so players (especially in singles games) are usually well over 6 feet apart. Pickleball, meanwhile, is a bit more problematic in the COVID-19 era, with its smaller court.
Whichever of the three sports you favor, if you play during the outbreak you are likely to notice some changes. Here's an overview of new rules, meant to lower the risk of the coronavirus spreading among players, around the country.
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After weeks of staying at home because of COVID-19, golfers are hitting the links with gusto. Ninety-eight percent of the nation's golf courses have reopened, and demand for tee times is high: In a National Golf Foundation survey, 44 percent of golf course operators said that golfers played as many rounds in May as they normally would, while another 44 percent said golfers played more than usual. Only 12 percent reported a drop-off.
Many states and communities are following guidelines called Back2Golf, introduced in May by six golf organizations. The guidelines offer distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — such as requiring players to ride alone in golf carts — and reduce exposure to high-touch surfaces. At public courses in Los Angeles County, for example, bunker rakes, flagsticks, ball washers, benches, divot boxes and sand bottles have all been removed.
The Back2Golf guidelines also recommend adding barriers to prevent players from pulling their balls from the holes. To do that, some course operators have cut foam swimming pool noodles and stuffed them in the cups. Another option is to raise the cup about 2 inches above the turf so the ball can't enter.