BOULDER, Colo. (BVM) — High school sports seasons will be different than any other year all around the country this fall due to COVID-19. But fortunately for golfers, their sport is one of the least impacted by the pandemic, and the 2020 boys golf season is the first one to get started in Colorado this week.
Practices began Aug. 3 and the first eight tournaments of the season will be held around the state on Aug. 6.
“I think we’re all looking for some sort of normalcy,” said John Zerwin, head coach of defending Class 5A state champion Fairview High School. “Being able to get out and play some golf and at least attempt to start a season is something more normal than we’ve had in a long time.”
The structure of the season has not been changed since golf is already a socially-distanced sport, but teams will still have to adjust to new rules and regulations under Colorado High School Activities Association’s COVID-19 guidelines, which emphasize the importance of daily screenings, sanitation and the use of masks. Teams will also be using digital scorecards only.
One of the biggest challenges high school teams face is the lack of golf course availability for practices. Since golf is one of the activities best suited for the pandemic because it’s outdoors and socially-distanced, courses have become extremely busy.
“They’re really busy with the full-paying public and so a high school team taking up spots for potential revenue is not really a wanted thing right now,” Zerwin said, “and school budgets are tight too. My mission has always been to bring golf to as many kids as I could and this year we’ve had to really limit the number of players that we’re going to have on the team so practice is different, we’re going to have fewer practices and fewer kids at those practices.”
Zerwin said his team typically practices four times a week in the afternoon when courses are usually slow. But that isn’t the case this year for Fairview, which also shares Flatirons Golf Course with Boulder High School as its home course during the season.
“We have to deal with whatever golf courses are trying to give us,” Zerwin said. “There is no room for us out there and so we’re having to create shorter practice times and have fewer practices. This year I’m looking at two practices in the week and later in the evening when golf courses slow down.”
Practice scheduling challenges aside, Zerwin is excited to have the opportunity to see what his newest team of golfers can do after graduating a strong senior class which helped lead the Knights to their first team state title since 2007.
“We have a good group of kids who were behind those kids for two years and they didn’t really get much of a chance to show their stuff so it’s going to be neat to let them go and see what they can do,” Zerwin said. “I know they’re very capable players and it’s kind of up to them to show how they can take the ball and run with it.”