How the COVID-19 pandemic has united golf's governing bodies like never before

Back2Golf
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New "Back2Golf" initiative has support of industry's major players

As state and local shutdowns continue to ease amid the COVID-19 pandemic, society is inching its way back to normalcy. Luckily, golf has been leading the way as an outdoor activity with social distancing qualities already in place. Courses in all 50 states are now open with the use of carts and ranges almost running at the same pace. So, in light of golf making headlines as something to do through these strange times, “We Are Golf,” administered by the World Golf Foundation, has brought together the likes of the USGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour, LPGA, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) and Club Management Association of America (CMAA) unlike any time before for a new initiative dubbed “Back2Golf.”

Back2Golf is an industry-wide collaboration to provide operational guidelines. It lays out three phases and is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to play golf responsibly through the pandemic. Thirty-second PSAs now appear on digital and broadcast outlets, and feature NBA superstar Steph Curry, nine-time PGA Tour winner Matt Kuchar and three-time LPGA Tour champ Nelly Korda.

While many of golf’s organizations have worked with each other in the past, never have they all come together for a single cause so quickly. Much of the time, they have acted in alignment with their independent values and goals in growing the game, becoming more profitable and having an undeniable impact on American society. A quick history lesson: the PGA Tour was born because of differing ambitions. It used to be one body with the PGA of America, but split off in 1968 when tour pros wanted larger purses and the club pros wanted to continue funding the growth of the game.

“We Are Golf” has led efforts since 2009 to unite golf’s organizations to help ensure the health and prosperity of the $84 billion industry. Although a pandemic might not have been the desired circumstances to bring each association together, it is a proud day to see a coalition formed to spread positive messaging towards current and prospective golfers. Golf currently has a unique opportunity to be a leading sport in the eyes of the American public, as it can now rely on “social-distancing” traits for participation. Television ratings should also receive a boost, as seen with The Match II: Champions for Charity.

In the meantime, America’s economy needs to be rejuvenated and more people need the confidence to try golf again or tee it up for the first time. The hope is also for “Back2Golf” to not be the last time the organizations join forces, but the first time at the dawn of a new era. Golf will certainly be better together for the long walk ahead.

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About the Author
Dan Wooters has been with Buffalo Groupe since May 2018. He began his career with the Metropolitan Golf Association in Elmsford, N.Y., and has mostly remained in the golf industry ever since, including stints with the PGA of America and PGA TOUR. Dan is a two-time graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee. He is a part-time hotel owner and enjoys traveling the world as much as he can. He currently resides in Arlington, Va.