I have been isolated in my house for the past 8 weeks due to the Coronavirus. The entire global economy shut down and almost all businesses shut down in the US and especially New Jersey. That meant no golf! What hell was I going to do with my free time? I spent a lot of time isolated and worrying about then unknown and what the future had in store. I tried my best to stay positive and find creative ways to keep busy and especially keep golf in the picture. I may have not been on the course, but I sure did find ways to keep my game sharp during this time of any unknown future of when I will ever get to step on a 150 acre property and step on the first tee. I focused on putting and worked with a yard stick to make sure my putting stroke was consistent and always on line to work on feels and eliminate the pushes and pulls. I worked on speed training thanks to Superspeed golf in order to generate more swing speed and in hopes to hit bombs like our good friend Phil. Well, we are friends but I am not sure he is aware. And lastly, I worked on my takeaway using the mirror drill in order to make sure everything is on plane and in sync. I found a new way to golf and that seemed to become the new norm until....
May 2, 2020 the Governor of NJ decided to lift the restrictions and opened up recreational parks and golf courses! Yes! You heard that right! Golf is back in the state of New Jersey and I was thrilled beyond belief. But then, the guidelines came out. Twosomes only and spanned tee times of 16 minutes apart. That means only 8 golfers per hour! I thought to myself, "you have to be kidding me!" Golf has to be the best form of social distancing and I was frustrated with the guidelines were and how they came to be; however, I realized golf was back and I had to take what I can get. Then I realized that this was going to be a logistical nightmare. The demand is so high and the supply is low. Golfers were going to be fighting for tee times and it can only be online. I thought the computers were going to crash and I was beat for getting any golf in on the first weekend. But I stayed on top of things and made sure I followed the new procedures and was able to get tee times for both Saturday and Sunday. I was in and ready to enjoy the walk!
Saturday came and we were back in action but things were definitely different with the process of checking in and heading to the course after I secured my bookings. I wasn't able to show up to the course until 15 minutes until my tee time. If I showed up and early, I had to sit in the parking lot in my car until that time came to get out and head straight to the tee box. Socializing around the parking lot was prohibited before and after the round. Golf was treated as a park and play. You show up, tee it up, and immediately go home. When I arrived, I pulled up to a check in station and they proceeded to make sure I was the actual person intended to play at the reserved tee time. They proceeded to give me the ok and head to the parking lot and advised me I could get out of the car and head to the first tee because I was right on time. From there, I got with my other playing partner and proceeded with our round. However, I have to tip my cap to the entire Ron Jaworski golf association and especially the Running Deer Staff! Michael, Rob, Klay, Billy, and everyone else, I just want to say THANK YOU! Without their tireless hours of hard work this couldn't have been done. I know they have been busting their asses in such a short period of time in order to make sure their members received full service and made sure operations ran smooth. And they sure did!
When I stepped on the first tee, it was a breath of fresh air...literally. The course was pure as it could get and greener than ever. I was just thrilled to be back. All the stress, frustration, anxiety, and fear lifted off my shoulders and I forgot we were even in a pandemic. I was able to throw the bag on my back and simply enjoy the walk. And let us not forget that my first tee shot did not go into the woods and my goal was somewhat successful! I did pure my drive but it turned over just a tad bit and found the fairway bunker. I'd say that was a success, but nothing beats being able to play the game we know and love and what we call golf!
NJ Golf COVID Guidelines