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Back to the Goat Hill golf course, with changes

With few recreational options available to us during the state’s stay-at-home order, it’s great to be back on the course again. Yes, we can only walk for now, as singles or in twosomes. But it’s better than no golf at all.

If you plan to play golf at Shelter Island Country Club at Goat Hill, please refer to our website — shelterislandcc.org/news — to learn more about the conditions for play. Non-members are asked to pay a $20 (cash only) daily greens fee for unlimited play. A cash box is located on a table near the golf carts.

Have no doubt: If golfers fail to adhere to the restrictions, and complaints start pouring in, the state will not hesitate to shut down golf courses again. We urge all golfers to follow the rules and enjoy their time on the course. Consider it a great outdoor workout.

For many of us, though, the thought of walking Goat Hill is like taking the stairs to top of the Empire State Building. Not happening, right?

Have no fear. If you are out talking long walks already, you can certainly tackle Goat Hill. With the course still relatively quiet, here are a few ideas:

Create your own course

• Holes 1, 2, 3 and 6 are relatively flat. You could start at No. 1, play No. 2, walk to the No. 6 tee, come back and play No. 3 and walk back to No. 1 to replay, and so on until you’re too pooped to play any more.

• You could play a three-hole course of holes 1, 2 and 3 three times. Keep in mind that you can play as many or as few holes you want.

Pay attention

If you do play the course in a non-traditional format be aware of others on the course and be respectful of their play. We don’t want the course to turn into a Wild West show. We do, however, want you to enjoy your round. So, if you do come upon another golfer or twosome, simply let them know your game plan — from six feet away, of course.

Lighten your load

• Turn your golf bag into a Sunday bag. Think about it. How many different clubs do you actually use? Lighten your bag with just a few clubs and balls.

• If you don’t have a pull or push cart and you don’t want to carry your bag, just grab your putter and one or two clubs and carry those by hand.

• Use a caddy. Got a youngster at home who needs a break from video games? Let him or her carry your bag — at a safe six-foot distance. Work out a system so they grab the club by the clubhead and extend the club so the grip is toward you. Return the club by holding the grip so the caddy handles only the clubhead.

• If your youngster wants to play golf, too, arrange one bag so it has a few of your clubs and a few of his or hers. Decide who carries the bag.

Got other ideas? Send them to [email protected] and we’ll share.

How might golf change?

Golfers and the golf industry as a whole are already reflecting on ways the game could change going forward. Or, how the game will look to its past to shape the sport’s future. Could caddies become commonplace? Would “gimmees” be legal?

How do you think the game of golf might change, post-pandemic? Email us your thoughts to [email protected]

Meanwhile, take your next walk on Goat Hill, and swing away into spring. The club thanks you for your support.

Mary Fran Gleason is a member of the Shelter Island Country Club Board of Trustees.