The golf and the tourism industries here in the Algarve are collectively breathing somewhat easier now that the golf courses are slowly opening their doors again. On May 4th 2020 the Portuguese Government announced an easing of Covid-19 lockdown with sports such as surfing, tennis and golf all being made permissible albeit under strict guidelines. Undoubtably this is a step in the right direction for golf tourism and the countless businesses that rely on golf-tourist-traffic, but is it still a bit too early?
Some might suggest that golf is the ideal activity to play and keep socially distanced between players. I guess only time will tell and the world’s eyes of the golf industry will be on Portugal to see how things develop over the next few weeks. The country seems to have dealt with the pandemic rather well so far with lower mortality and cases compared with other countries. The Algarve in particular seems to have had very low rates and the reasons for that will no doubt be debated for years to come, when this tragic and heart-breaking pandemic is behind us.
For a good number of years now, the golf industry has complained that the game is not attracting enough new players. Modern day life has been fast, hectic and often stressful. So, now have some time to sit back and reflect a bit about our lives, but, are the ‘powers that be’ in golf not missing a trick?
We all know that this magnificent and challenging game can be time consuming; but when other sports are still in lockdown, is this not the right time to introduce fresh faces to golf? Surely now is the time to point people in the direction of golf with lessons or shortened versions of the game, such as Pitch n’ Putt or just 9 holes golf? Full return of football or rugby is a long way off but, if the UK and the rest of Europe follows Portugal’s example, then the clubhouse doors may well reopen soon. I guess it’s just a case of ‘watch and wait’.