Published by : Stuart McLean - 20 March 2020

Golf clubs have been issued with lengthy directives about how to operate during the coronavirus, and one of the more curious suggestions is that golfers avoid touching the flagstick. I’m sure this will suit those golfers I know who seldom used to remove it from the hole or replace it anyway, yet this could have ramifications.

The late English golf writer Peter Dobereiner titled one of his books “The Game with the Hole in it.” Well that wasn’t the case yesterday in the Thursday competition at Bryanston Country Club. The holes in the greens were hidden from view by a raised plastic liner, and it was no longer a condition of play to hole out. All you needed to do to complete a hole was ensure that your golf ball touched the liner.

Golfers at Bryanston putt to a plastic liner around the flagstick.

It certainly makes scoring simpler. I watched a golfer attempt a long putt on one green. The ball was travelling quickly and would have gone a few metres past the hole, but fortuitously it clipped the edge of the liner and his playing partners delightedly praised him for holing out for a par!

I can see that club professionals are quickly going to be cancelling the “Two-Club” if this becomes the norm. We’re going to see remarkable betterball and alliance scores in competitions. As for handicaps, golfers who putt accurately should be careful about posting too many low scores. They will be hurt when we return to normal.

Some golf clubs are insisting that the holes remain but the flagsticks are not removed. Yet golfers will be touching the base of the flagstick in order to remove their golf balls.

Golfers might think they are in a state of nirvana right now. Several Gauteng clubs have removed rakes from bunkers, in case they are contaminated, so golfers are no longer required to clean up after tramping around in the sand. Spare caddies have been commissioned to rove around the course with a rake in hand, looking for work.

The duties of caddies have been much reduced, whereupon golfers might ask what is the point of having one. Some clubs are insisting that players provide the caddies with a pull cart, and they are not allowed to handle a player’s clubs. And they don’t have to rake bunkers. One club told its members that caddies may not even make contact with a player’s sandbag, towel or even the golf ball! All the caddie therefore has to do is pull the bag around and let the player do all the work.

The one-tee start recommendation is designed to make golf less social on traditional competition days. Shotgun starts are forbidden. We cannot have all those golfers finishing their rounds at the same time and massing around the clubhouse. However, they are really only a favourite of corporate golf days, and these outings are being cancelled left, right and centre.

The one-tee start means there will be no more distinct morning and afternoon fields, with their traditional two-tee starts. Golfers were identified by their preferences: “Yes, he’s strictly a morning golfer.” Morning and afternoon golfers often didn’t even know they were members of the same club. Now they will bump into each other more often. Members will find themselves starting a round at 10am, which means they can’t do much in the morning before the round, and half the afternoon is gone before they are finished. Without any sport to watch on TV though, who cares?

Article Search
Search for news articles
Top 100 Course News, Blog
and Feature
Recent news articles
1 Bosch Hoek Golf & Lodge Near… Read more
Joe Knox is not a golf pro… Read more
Louis Oosthuizen’s display at Leopard Creek is… Read more
Homeowners at the Oubaai golf estate in… Read more
The weekend of the SA Open at… Read more
Fancourt have built a new halfway house… Read more
This year is the 25th anniversary of… Read more
An attractive 9-hole course on the remote… Read more
Peter Matkovich has kept himself active as… Read more
Marco Simone was the first purpose-built golf… Read more
More than half of South Africa’s courses… Read more
On a quiet Central Drakensberg road between… Read more
Listed below are all 414 courses affiliated… Read more
Gary Player Country Club will forever be… Read more
The new millennium has seen a remarkable… Read more
Pretoria Country Club has been rated on… Read more
The US Open at Los Angeles Country… Read more
South African Open host Blair Atholl, ranked… Read more
Of all the great tournament venues that… Read more
Augusta National has Amen Corner to describe… Read more
The closure of Beachwood CC in Durban… Read more
Former Sunshine Tour commissioner Arnold Mentz has… Read more
Durban Country Club will be closing their… Read more
Casey Jarvis has become the second youngest… Read more
In South Africa, the Halfway House stop… Read more
Amanzimtoti Country Club was devastated by flooding… Read more
The Garden Route is a popular destination… Read more
Pearl Valley has been judged as having… Read more
Zwartkop Country Club, the 18-hole course owned… Read more
Does any other sport offer as many… Read more
Silver Lakes has asked to be removed… Read more
Mount Edgecombe Country Club is hosting two… Read more
KZN estate Cotswold Downs, at No 52… Read more
There was a change of the guard… Read more
Houghton and Hermanus are two clubs at… Read more
Woodhill continues its phenomenal rise up the… Read more
Having a river flowing through your course… Read more
Atlantic Beach is one of those courses… Read more
Katberg, Orkney and Emfuleni are this year’s… Read more
An exciting project in Mpumalanga is the… Read more
We’re seeing five key changes to the… Read more
The Eastern Cape has been included as… Read more
The Alfred Dunhill Championship is one of… Read more
Royal Johannesburg’s newly renovated West Course was… Read more
Durban Country Club’s iconic short par-4 18th… Read more
Composite courses could become fashionable locally in… Read more
Blair Atholl is an exciting new addition… Read more
Veteran East London Golf Club member Denis Jones… Read more
How would you react if you learned… Read more
Blair Atholl has the longest stretch of… Read more
Amanzimtoti Country Club suffered the most devastation… Read more
Durban Country Club will next year be… Read more
Bryanston Country Club head teaching professional Leigh-Jane… Read more
Work has started on the refurbishment of… Read more
Golf Digest magazine in the United States… Read more
The Sunshine Tour visited 17 of SA’s… Read more
TOP 20 GREENS 1 Fancourt Links, 2… Read more
No 1-ranked Fancourt Links claimed more honours… Read more
Links courses were the big winners in… Read more
Gauteng is endowed with wonderful golf courses,… Read more
Today’s announcement of 20 courses ranked between… Read more
Anyone who has played at Plettenberg Bay… Read more
Woodhill is one of 17 courses in… Read more
Four courses – Reading, Eagle Canyon, Centurion… Read more
Two new entrants to the Top 100… Read more
Such has been the huge amount of… Read more
The new year ushered in great excitement… Read more
The 2022 Top 100 Course Rankings will… Read more
It was 30 years ago this January-February… Read more
Christiaan Burke, this year’s scoring sensation in… Read more
In recent years golfers have experienced more… Read more
Ian Leach, a doyen of golf club… Read more
They do not count as criteria when… Read more
Following the oddest year in major championship… Read more
From Plettenberg Bay in the east to… Read more
Veteran Western Province golfer Greg Woodbridge gave… Read more
In a high-profile appointment, Meyer du Toit,… Read more
Fancourt in the Garden Route is acknowledged… Read more
After an innovative, lengthy and suspenseful week… Read more
Golfers in the greater Gauteng region are… Read more
South Africa’s collection of bushveld courses are… Read more
Big positional swings are a feature of… Read more
Three of the new entrants into the… Read more
My 61-day Road Trip visiting 70 courses… Read more
Cash prizes for holes-in-one are being offered… Read more
The design of the standard golf cart… Read more
Zimbali Lakes has been an anticipated golf… Read more
Highland Gate was a popular venue for… Read more
It’s not fashionable today but there was… Read more
The Humewood links in Port Elizabeth has… Read more
A countdown has begun to the announcement… Read more
Irene Country Club elected its first female… Read more
The Top 100 Courses website has a… Read more
I’m on a road trip around South Africa aiming to complete visiting… Read more
The PGA of South Africa announced its… Read more
Pinnacle Point have done it again and… Read more
Gary Player Country Club will become the… Read more
St Francis Links has introduced a great… Read more
Big changes are taking place at South… Read more
Colin Nel at the weekend became the… Read more
The golfing members at Irene Country Club… Read more
While golf has happily resumed, with most… Read more
One of South Africa’s iconic golf courses,… Read more
GolfRSA today received the green light for… Read more
Golf courses around South Africa serve as… Read more
The golf industry will need to adapt… Read more
GolfRSA is making every effort to ensure… Read more
South African golf courses today are increasingly… Read more
PGA professional John Dickson spends most of… Read more
One of the stated 10 keys to… Read more
The national lockdown over the coronavirus has… Read more
David Melman is the Golf Manager at… Read more
Golf clubs have been issued with lengthy… Read more
There are a handful of golf courses… Read more
When the idea of a Top 100… Read more
Silver Lakes Golf & Wildlife Estate in Pretoria has been named one… Read more
Golf participation in South Africa would appear to be increasing, with Handicap… Read more
Serengeti Estates in Ekurhuleni has created one… Read more
Intimidating and challenging closing holes help create… Read more
Umhlali Country Club in Ballito on the… Read more
Erinvale Country Estate & Golf Club is… Read more
The Links at Fancourt and Leopard Creek… Read more
It’s a magical scoring barrier everywhere in… Read more
Royal Johannesburg & Kensington will make history… Read more