Your stories: A social-distanced round reveals golf's essence: exercise, conversation and camaraderie

River Creek Club, Leesburg, VA
River Creek Club, Leesburg, VA

A reader from Leesburg, Virginia, details a recent round in the coronavirus era

Throughout this difficult period, this Golf News Hub will explore what it’s like to actually live through this moment. Here we will print your stories about how this is affecting you, your family, your friends … your daily life. Email us your story.

Here is the fourth essay in our series. (Read the first three essays here, here and here.)

A couple weeks ago, four of us went out for a Friday afternoon round of golf at River Creek Club in Leesburg, Virginia. I happen to live right on the course, so you might say it’s an easy commute.

There were none of the usual hugs or handshakes. None of the usual two guys to a golf cart with beers in the cupholders and music blasting from a speaker. We walked the course. Two of us had pushcarts and two of us carried our bags. It’s not a great walking course, or so we thought, because of the distance between some of the greens and the next tees.

But the walking, along with the camaraderie and the game, helped soothe the cabin fever we’d all been mired in. It was good to get out and move around with some good friends. We maintained a healthy distance between us from tee to green, and talked as we walked. We are former empty-nesters now living again with our children, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. While our families are all healthy, we know the virus could knock on our door any day now, almost like an unwelcome domestic terrorist. There’s something in the air that’s a little reminiscent of life post-9/11.

We played Sixes (three 6-hole bets), so each of us could partner with the other. We didn’t pull pins or touch each others’ golf balls. No money would change hands (we’d use Venmo or Paypal), but it turned out that nobody won a bet – they were all halved. We discovered we actually like walking the course. It’s a good workout. And we discovered that we could hang with each other and compete in a sport we love while never coming within six feet of each other.

Did we miss tossing the other guy his ball after giving him the putt? Or the fistbump after your partner drains a bomb? Yes, no question. But we found playing by these new rules doesn’t alter the game a bit. If anything, it distilled the game to its essence. And despite the distances we maintained between us, the round brought us closer together. We shared each other’s company, conversation and camaraderie. And we wished each other well in the days ahead.

- Bill Replogle
Leesburg, VA

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