At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, most businesses were forced to close their doors and to help stop the spread of the virus further, people were advised not to gather in groups, writes Stuart Cooke, Blog Editor at MyBaggage.com.
This meant most sporting events came to a halt, with football clubs, rugby clubs, leisure centres and golf courses all off-limits until the virus was more manageable.
Now, as things slowly try to return to some sort of normal, businesses have been allowed to reopen with additional safety measures in place - and the great news is, most golf courses have also been able to open back up without any issues.
So, if you’ve missed the game and you're keen to get back on the course you might be hoping to plan a golf weekend for you and your buddies. If that’s the case, then look no further!
In this guide, we’ll take you through how to plan a Covid-friendly golf trip so you can play a few rounds whilst staying as safe as possible.
Choose your destination wisely
Whether you want to travel abroad or keep it close to home, choosing the right destination is the key to planning a safe trip. Some destinations are more Covid-friendly than others, so you need to do your research first.
There are plenty of exciting and safe destinations to choose from where you’ll be able to find great golf courses. Some of the best (and safest) places to visit for a golfing trip right now include: Portugal, Spain, Greece, Scotland, England and Germany.
But before you book anything up, you need to check for any restrictions or entry requirements as these differ from country to country. Some places are still not accepting non-residents and some places may require a quarantine period either upon arrival or on your return.
These are usually two weeks, so you need to make sure you're prepared to stick out the quarantine if you want to go further afield.
Read the local advice
Once you’ve settled on your location, you need to make sure you check out the local advice before travelling. As we’ve said, it differs from country to country, but more than that, it can also differ from region to region in some places as well (the UK for example).
A quick internet search should help you to find local health and safety guidelines and you’ll also be able to find out any Covid-related rules that in place, such as social distancing. Remember, this advice can change quickly, so be sure to keep checking right up until you're due to go on your golfing break, just in case.
Get the group size right
In the UK, you are not allowed to socialise in groups bigger than six and there might also be limits in other countries as well. So, try to keep your golfing trip small and intimate instead of taking a large group.
This will also make it easier for post-game activities such as going for a drink or a meal. What’s more, a larger group is harder to keep socially distanced and finding accommodation might be tricky as many won’t take group bookings, so it’s worth considering your group size in the early stages of planning your trip.
Get the right insurance (if you're planning on travelling abroad)
If you're planning on going abroad, you need to make sure you’ve got the right health and/or travel insurance. With the risk of Covid-19 on top of the usual safety concerns, you need to make sure you’re going to be covered should you get ill while you're away.
There are plenty of comparison websites out there to help you find the best deal.
Check with your accommodation
From hotels to private holiday homes, most accommodation providers are putting extra measures in place to keep guests safe. That being said, it always pays to double-check and make sure that your rooms will be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly before you arrive.
You should also check to see if they’ve got any specific house rules you need to abide by.
Some places have begun using mobile apps or sites for check-in and check-out to avoid queues and staff interactions. In these cases, it’s a good idea to download the relevant apps beforehand to make your trip as smooth and safe as possible.
Check the course and club house rules
You might be outside but there are still going to be rules in place when you're out on the course. What’s more, some clubhouses remain closed to guests at the moment to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
So before you go and certainly before you set off for a game, check out the rules at your chosen golf course as these can differ.
While it might feel strange and it might not be what you're used to when it comes to a golfing weekend, remember, these measures have all been put in place to keep you safe - so be sure to stick to the rules!
If you’ve got your own equipment that’s great, but if you rely on hiring equipment on the day, then again you need to check whether this is an option right now as you might be better off sourcing your own equipment before you go.
Get yourself some protective measures
Last but certainly not least, when packing for your trip you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the usual items: clothes, clubs and the usual toiletries. But nowadays it also pays to take extra precautions with you as well, especially if you're going to be travelling abroad.
Face masks, anti-bacterial hand gel, wipes and possibly even gloves are going to stand you in good stead wherever your trip takes you. They’ll also give you peace of mind and help to keep you happy and healthy while you're away. So be sure to pack some extras in your bag to take with you just in case.
One great way to avoid hanging around the airport longer than you have to is to use a luggage shipping service. A courier will pick up your clubs at your house and ship them ahead so they’re waiting for you at your hotel, it’s a lot handier and it’s often cheaper than paying airline baggage fees.
Stuart Cooke is the Blog Editor at MyBaggage.com - a luggage shipping service that helps golfers send their clubs ahead taking the hassle and expense out of any golf trip.