EDITORIAL – The importance of golf, and other games, in the COVID-19 crisis

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE CLOSING OF GOLF COURSES has got me wondering if there’s a point at which our determination to escape the COVID-19 virus becomes overly enthusiastic.

That might surprise you given my comments yesterday about the Emergency Measures Act but hear me out.

We know social distancing is our major weapon against the virus, along with good personal hygiene.

And except for those irresponsible types who insist on gathering in large numbers and in close proximity, we’re in.

The golf courses are to be commended — they’re willing to take a big financial hit for the greater good.

But if any recreation is capable of being carried out with proper social distancing, it’s golf.

It’s not a contact sport.

Members of golf foursomes can easily stay away from each other. In fact, foursomes can become onesomes if need be.

I liked the earlier plans to leave flagsticks in holes, do away with raking bunkers and sanitize golf carts and anything else that might be touched.

Still, you say, why take any chances? So I’ll get to my real point.

Each day, health officials tell us about the latest service or activity that’s being shut down, and politicians reveal welcome new plans to deal with economic fallout.

Those are essential, of course, but let’s start talking about our mental health beyond being told to stay home, study Latin online and practice the harmonica.

Human beings aren’t wired for solitary confinement.

Socializing is only part of recreation. The other part is our need to get out and do something.

So maybe we need a provincial panel of health and recreation experts to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for how to maintain designated recreational activities outside the home in safety, rather than banning all of them.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8582 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – The importance of golf, and other games, in the COVID-19 crisis

  1. Jennie Stadnichuk // March 27, 2020 at 1:37 PM // Reply

    I completely agree with you Mel! Closing golf courses is the ultimate in forcing many folks into staying home and becoming depressed or anxious for when it’ll all end. I had the same thought when Sun Peaks closed its facility a few weeks ago. It would have been possible to continue with the simple measures you recommend as well as close the Day Lodge and eating areas. Skiers could easily get into their boots in their car and walk to the lift (which could be wiped down with sanitizer and skiers could have loaded with only one rider in each chair. This would slow the process a little, but it would have at least allowed us to enjoy the best part of the ski season! Spring skiing is the best!

  2. Marcus Lowe // March 26, 2020 at 8:26 AM // Reply

    Closed glass doors allow me to visit my elders. We talk on the phone. We “air hug.” I can leave things they need, sanitized, upon their doorstep. This feels good to me. Tomato and mellon seeds started their germination yesterday. This gives me a sense of purpose and a hope for future that feels good right now. These things give me something to talk about with people who mutually agree to maintain social distancing. My social life has increased with the needs of friends and family, social distancing respected.

  3. Ian M MacKenzie // March 26, 2020 at 7:24 AM // Reply

    I recommend a long and vigorous walk. Destination? Anywhere your feet wish to take you. With whom? Yourself or the one with whom you live. How often? At least 3 times per week -preferably daily. Sanity comes with movement and I’m losing it. Get moving, Ian.

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