Call Me Old Fashioned

Published in Resources & News on March 10, 2021

I like Old Fashioneds. Ok, I lied … I love Old Fashioneds. They have been my go-to cocktail for many years, and if I do say so myself, I make a pretty mean, classic Old Fashioned. That begins with a small slice of a fresh orange muddled up with a few shakes of Angostura bitters. A perfect orange slice is a key to my homemade cocktail.

Old Fashioned Image

So, what on earth does this have to do with golf course accessories? Bear with me … I’ll get there.

It's officially been 1 year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic (March 11, 2020). Last March and much of the spring/summer, we were terrified to touch, well, pretty much anything. But now, things are slowly getting back to the “old normal” (I refuse to use the term “new normal” in my vocabulary) and life is slowly starting to feel like it did pre-COVID for many of us. Businesses are open, restaurants are beginning to re-open in many states and people are supporting local businesses that took a hit last year. Grocery stores aren’t out of toilet paper and normal shopping habits are starting to return. That includes the handling and sorting through fresh produce to find the perfect orange for my Old Fashioned.

All this is happening with much less fear of contracting the coronavirus. It’s happening with less fear because we have learned so much about the virus since last March. Science and experts are telling us that it is “VERY unlikely you’d get Coronavirus from touching an inanimate object”, said Dr. Anthony Fauci recently when asked about this topic.  Additionally, in this interesting article addressing disinfecting and why it’s relatively ineffective, Emanuel Goldman, a microbiologist at Rutgers University says, “The risk of getting infected from touching a surface contaminated by the virus is low.  In hospitals, surfaces have been tested near COVID-19 patients, and no infectious virus can be identified.”  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wash your hands frequently, or wash your produce after purchasing from the grocery store, and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wash your hands after golfing.  But it does mean, while grocery shopping, that it’s ok to touch 3 or 4 oranges to find the perfect one for your Old Fashioned.  It does mean that it’s ok to touch items that were once thought of as potential Coronavirus spreaders.  Best yet, it means that science is telling us we can be more comfortable doing things the way we always have in the past and that we can get a little closer to the old normal.

"It is VERY UNLIKELY you’d get Coronavirus from touching an inanimate object"

Golf course accessory usage in 2020 was dramatically affected by the COVID-19 virus. Items such as bunker rakes, golf ball washers, flag sticks and benches were either removed from courses, or golfers were instructed to not touch them, for fear that they would potentially transfer the virus. Back in the early part of the year, this was understandable. But just like other parts of life, things are slowly getting back to normal on the golf course and golfers should no longer have to worry about touching these products. This is huge for the game of golf. It means we are starting to return to the old normal, golf is being played like it should be played and courses are being outfitted with the products golfers want and need during their rounds. We are seeing facilities across the country allowing golfers to remove flag sticks and are returning bunker rakes, ball washers, water cooler stations, benches and other “touch point” products back to the golf course because there is no more a risk of getting the virus on these items than on any trip to your local grocery store.

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I’ve been having conversations with customers lately about their outlook for the 2021 golf season, and one with the head golf professional at a busy public course in a major metropolitan area really stood out to me. In 2020, rounds at his facility were up 25%. So far this year, sales of their patron cards are up considerably over last year, and they have 50 corporate events already on the calendar. In short, they had an amazing year last year, as most courses did, and are anticipating another good one in 2021. Because of their increase in revenue, they are investing in things like all new tee markers and benches for their facility. This is a trend we are seeing across the country. Golf courses are taking advantage of what was a great year for their bottom line and upgrading some of their “non-annual” course accessories as well as exploring a variety of custom product options (like tee signs or recycled plastic furnishings). What’s more, this course is putting bunker rakes, ball washers and benches back on the golf course and golfers can remove the flag stick if they desire as nothing is being put in the cup except a flagstick (no more pool noodles!). They are doing this because it is what their golfers are requesting and because of where we are now, they feel very safe in returning these products to the course.

For the golf purist in me, these are all great signs, and I am excited to have golf back to being played the way it should be played. I’m also looking forward to that first post-round Old Fashioned of 2021, as well. I may even ask for an extra orange slice!

Dan Brown
Sales & Marketing Manager 
Par Aide Products Co.