The Outpost Foundation has pledged $50,000 to out-of-work caddies
Golf is packed with gentlemanly traditions. Competitors wander into weeds to search for their opponent's wayward drives, shift ball markers to clear putting lines, and of course, at the end of each round, shake hands before departing for the 19th hole.
As more than half of all courses in the U.S. remain open, many of golf's routines are being adapted to the new world order. Economically, one would be hard-pressed to find an individual or company that has dodged the pandemic unscathed. Golf is no different. In the past few weeks, simple acts such as raking a bunker, repairing ball marks or replacing a flagstick have given way to innovative thinking as the golf community does its part to flatten the curve.
Golf course caddies and service workers have seen their lives upended, their labor no longer needed during the COVID-19 outbreak. In response, The Outpost Foundation, which launched in 2015 to promote awareness and financial support to golf-related charities and educational causes, has made a pledge to match up to $50,000 in donations, with-out-of-work caddies at the center of their efforts. As independent contractors, many caddies are without insurance. Locker-room attendants and outside service workers who depend heavily on gratuity for their income have seen their finances screech to a halt. The foundation has pledged to “take care of their own,” and there's no doubt the new round of donations will help.
From coast-to-coast, stories pour in from industries reallocating resources and thinking creatively to weather the storm. Last month after canceling The Players Championship, Billy Horschel remained at TPC Sawgrass to aid volunteers in donating all food that had been prepared for more than 200,000 fans over the weekend. A New Jersey course rallied their community to collect Gatorades and sandwiches which were given to first responders at a neighboring hospital. Linksoul is selling COVID-19 relief t-shirts. Seamus golf is making masks. The list goes on.
Each inspiring story offers, if ever so brief, a moment of optimism. Eventually we will emerge on the other side. And when that day arrives, selfless acts will help golf return to the routines that once seemed so simple.
Like a handshake to close out a round.