Your stories: 7 ways to stay busy (and sane) while waiting for golf season to bloom

Watching TV during pandemic

Throughout this difficult period, 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 seventh essay in our series. (Read previous essays here.)

Staying busy during the COVID-19 pandemic has become its own form of art – no one way is perfect, and everyone does it differently. There are many ways to pass the time, and as long as you can find some calm in the chaos, you’re ahead of the game.

Scrolling through news articles on your phone is distracting, if not addicting, but is it healthy? COVID has crept into every corner of our lives, but now it’s time to reclaim some mental space.

Keeping your mind appropriately occupied during a hectic time provides several benefits. Take a break from the worry and refill your cup; you aren’t doing yourself (or anyone) any good if you get too drained.

With the daily news cycle chipping away at our sanity, we must find ways to fill ourselves with positive information. Here are a few sports-related ideas to give your brain a pause from the pandemic:

1. Play golf

For many of us, this game is a way of life (and a way of employment!). The sport has inherent therapeutic qualities, which is why so many golfers have played during the pandemic and, in certain states, petitioned their governments for golf courses to remain open. Time outside is proven to increase both serotonin and endorphin levels, which means your mood will automatically brighten around sunshine and fairways (though a long round in the rough still has benefits!).
If your courses are closed, open the windows in your apartment or set up a backyard practice area. Fresh air will keep you healthy, happy and unplugged.

2. Get off the couch

Train for a marathon or burn off the weight from social-distance snacking. You’ll discover that a workout provides both physical and mental benefits. A simple walk through your neighborhood can not only calm the brain and reduce stress, but also keep you productive throughout the day.

3. Catch up on sports documentaries and movies

Many of us feel a gaping hole in our lives without sports on TV. Take this time to catch up on docs and movies you could never squeeze in pre-pandemic.

Recommendations:

· Sports documentaries: 30 for 30, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, All or Nothing: NFL, The Last Dance (the hottest new documentary)
· Feel-good sports movies: Remember the Titans, Miracle, Hoosiers
· Golf classics: Happy Gilmore, Caddyshack, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Tin Cup

4. Relive great sports TV moments

These days, Golf Channel and ESPN have you covered. Past PGA and LPGA tournaments run on Golf Channel every day, and it almost feels like Tour players are still playing around the world. Additionally, popular GC shows like Big Break have returned.

ESPN is playing football, basketball and other collegiate and professional games from the past, plus an occasional curveball like mixed martial arts. Earlier this month, CBS re-aired several classic Masters Sundays. Could more majors air in the weeks ahead? Check your local listings.

6. Read autobiographies, biographies and other books

Whether you want to dive into Dr. Bob Rotella’s golf mental game strategies or enjoy the story of Jack Nicklaus’ life, books are a fun way to explore the minds of some of the greatest athletes in history.

Recommendations:

· Autobiographies: Jack Nicklaus: My Story (Jack Nicklaus), The Mamba Mentality: How I Play (Kobe Bryant), Open (Andre Agassi)
· Biographies: Ali: A Life (Muhammad Ali), The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game (Michael Oher)
· Others: Golf is Not a Game of Perfect (Dr. Bob Rotella), A Good Walk Spoiled: Days And Nights On The PGA Tour (John Feinstein), Shoe Dog (Nike)

7. Listen to podcasts

Finding fun podcasts is another great way to distract yourself while filling your brain with knowledge. Cozy up on the sofa or listen while you walk or clean your house – podcasts are a versatile way to eliminate the news’ negativity.

Recommendations:

· “The 0 to 100 Podcast” – discusses legendary athletes across all sports in order of jersey number.
· “No Laying Up Podcast” – everything you could want to know about golf in one place.

These tips are helping me get through the COVID-19 crisis here in Rhode Island. What’s working for you? We’d love to hear!

Kelly Okun
Charlestown, R.I.

(Kelly Okun is an employee of Buffalo Groupe, which owns and operates Golf News Hub.)

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About the Author
Kelly Okun, the strategic partnership development manager for Buffalo Groupe, is a professional golfer turned professional golf fan. After playing at William & Mary for four years (Go Tribe!), she spent her next five years competing around the world. Her favorite tour was the Australian LPGA, where she once stayed in Adam Scott’s neighborhood; sadly, she never ran into him “by chance.” While on tour, Kelly also was a freelance writer, working with and writing reviews for several fun golf products.
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