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Despair not, homebound hackers, Golf Doc has ideas


As I shelter-in-place at my computer, I’m glancing out the window noticing the bright sunshine and warm temps, wishing I were on the golf course. Alas, unlike some parts of the country, our golf courses remain closed, and sneaking onto a course could get you arrested. We’re on golf lockdown!

Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy golf and use the time to make some progress. First, it’s time to evaluate your fitness, including strength and flexibility. There are hundreds of online guides and instructionals available, so put together a routine and workout at home.

If you’re so inclined, buy a golf practice net for your yard or garage, and work on your swing. Ebay has nets for $300 and less. While you’re at it, get yourself a small chipping net or basket ($8 to $20) for your back yard, and hone your chipping and pitching. And you can certainly improve your putting with an indoor putting mat, which may be $30 for a basic unit and up to hundreds for the high end.

Since you’re in your garage, why not clean out your golf club/ball locker and donate those old Callaway Big Bertha’s and Ping Eye 2s to charity.

For entertainment, there’s always the Golf Channel with nightly reruns of past PGA and LPGA tournaments, which I will watch when I didn’t see it the first time or don’t remember who won. And “Feherty” reruns are always good for a laugh. Sometimes the Golf Channel will air movies, but they are interrupted with lots of ads. You can order DVDs, or just stream movies on your phone or tablet.

My 12 favorite golf movies, not in any order, except the top pick, are: “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” “Tommy’s Honor,” “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” “Seven Days in Utopia,” “Caddyshack,” “Happy Gilmore,” “Tin Cup,” “The Founders,” “Follow the Sun,” “Dead Solid Perfect,” “Golf in The Kingdom” and “Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius.”

I was thinking of suggesting places to play golf which would be within reasonable flying or driving distance, but I realized the information about places around the country with open golf courses that I was checking was already inaccurate and would change probably by the hour.

So, after chatting with my contact at GolfNow in Orlando, my suggestion is that you check the GolfNow.com website if you really want go out of state for some golf. If there are times available for a reservation at a particular course, they are probably open for play. Further, you are wise to check golfadvisor.com/covid-1, which has the latest news on golf course operations.

It strikes me, while we remain shuttered up at home in these trying times, it is a great opportunity to delve into the reading we say we want to do, but never have the time. As some of you know, I have amassed a somewhat formidable golf library.

I have selected these ten books for recommended reading. COAS downtown probably has all of them at the very best prices, but they’re also available from Amazon.com. “Golf and the Spirit: Golf Lessons for the Journey,” by M. Scott Peck, “Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf,” by Kevin Robbins, “The Mysterious Montague: A True Tale of Hollywood, Golf and Armed Robbery,” by Leigh Montville,” “The Power of Positive Idiocy: A Collection of Rants and Raves,” by David Feherty and “On Par: The Everyday Golfer’s Survival Guide,” by Bill Pennington

Don’t forget “Golf & Life,” by Jack Nicklaus, “Golf and the Game of Leadership: An 18-hole Guide for Success in Business and in Life,” by Donald McHugh, “Walking with Jack: A Father’s Journey to Become His Son’s Caddie,” by Don J. Snyder, “It’s Only A Game: Words of Wisdom from a Lifetime in Golf,” by Jackie Burke, Jr. and “The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever,” by Mark Frost.

Enjoy. And chin up! We’ll be back to golfing before long.