Golfing During A Pandemic

Matt Lavelle, Assistant sports editor

The desire to be out on the golf course, hitting fairways and playing 18 holes is driving the CSU Bakersfield Women’s golf team to stay prepared for when they can begin tournaments again.

“Luckily for us, golf is inherently socially distant,” Women’s golf coach Meghan Thomason said.

“I actually work in a golf course. So it’s really kind of easy for me. So after work, I go out I play a couple holes,” said CSU Bakersfield Golfer Kaleigh Irey.

“I have a lot of friends that I work with, so we’ll just all head out to a bunch of different golf courses and just play around, so I’ve been putting the pressure situation, I kind of kept that mentality playing with them. So I’m hoping that this is going to prepare me for tournament season,” said Irey.

“Both my seniors from last year ended up returning; Macy Mills and Brandy Boyd,” said Thomason.

“With the incoming freshman it’s been challenging because, First of all, coming in to college as a freshman is hard. Anyway, coming in as a student athlete as a freshman is even harder and then throw in the wrench of, you know, not really being able to interact with anybody, not being able to build your relationship with your teammates right away, and not being able to practice or compete… I do make sure to check in with my freshmean actually probably more regularly than the other kids,” said Thomason.

“Golfing socially distant by nature. I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s not very hard to stay six feet apart, I’m always wearing my mask indoors even outdoors. If I’m next to people. So I just make sure I stay as safe as I can to protect me and the other people,” said Irey.

“We have some pretty strict policies, when it comes to the department, that’s the reason that we’re kind of able to start transitioning to being able to gather as a team, it’s kind of a blanket policy for any team and practice meetings, we need to keep six feet and try to stay away from the public as much has we can,” said Thomason.

“I never really did touch other people’s golf balls, only because there’s been some speculation, where if you mark someone else’s golf ball and hand it to them, if it’s in your way. That’s something I’ve done before, I’ve kind of gotten in the habit of not really doing that the real issue has been not taking the pin out of the hole because you’re not supposed to do that anymore, also the bunker rakes are not there so you just fix the sand with your feet, which can make for a difficult bunker shot,” said Irey.

“Tournaments are going to be different, as long as we get to get back out there we will do whatever it takes, and I think all the other coaches are on board with that too,” said Thomason.

“Our first scheduled competition is actually our home tournament here in town, from February 7th through the 9th at Bakersfield Country Club, that would be our first opportunity to compete… should we be able to plan spring if the NCAA and the Big West decide that it’s safe for us to compete,” said Thomason.