Golf Courses Added Foam Hole Fillers to the Cups

Golf ball sits on top of foam hole filler
Artwork by Anthony Faust

After COVID-19 hit in the Spring of 2020, opportunities to get out of the house were shrinking. Gyms were closing, swimming laps at the local YMCA was out of the question, even the early morning mall walker crowd was out of luck as these businesses were considered non-essential. For the middle age and beyond crowd, the number of ways to get some exercise was dwindling. There was one exception to this rule: golf.

Golf is one of the most popular sports in the United States. According to the National Golf Foundation, nearly 25 million people played golf on a golf course in the United States in 2020. That's around 8 percent of the total population of the U.S. which is a pretty large number all things considered.

Due to the demand of golfers, it was always going to be difficult to keep people off the course. Golf is also one of the most socially distancing sports you can play. Even in a foursome, golfers rarely need to be within 6 feet of each other. During the tee shots, every individual stands far apart from each other. The drives usually send each golfer down their own path of locating and eying up their mid-range shots. Most courses changed golf cart rentals to be one golfer per cart. This sped up the pace of play because you could zip right to your ball without having to locate a second ball for your cart mate. The second rule that was changed was no more raking the bunkers after putting a ball in the sand. It was deemed too high risk to have a golfer from one group smooth out their footsteps in the bunker and then have another golfer later come and use the same rake to clean up their mess as well. So, the bunkers remained ungroomed.

Ultimately, the group of golfers will convene on the putting green. This is where the silliest modification came into play. Some courses removed the flagsticks. Some of the courses required that no one remove the flagsticks because you didn’t want two different golfers touching the same flag stick. Many of the courses added foam inserts to the holes, to make it easier to retrieve your ball without having to pull the pin.  It robbed 25 million people golfers of the beautifully satisfying sound of the ball dropping to the bottom of the cup after nailing a 20-foot putt.

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Picture of author Anthony Faust

About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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