The socially distant game: High school golf tournaments look slightly different during COVID-19 pandemic

Rockcastle County hosted the 2020 Rockcastle Rockets Invitational at General Burnside Island Golf Course.
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 6:35 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2020 at 7:12 PM EDT
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BURNSIDE, Ky. (WYMT) - It’s a chance to get back active and on the course.

“Everybody’s taking precautions and doing things right and just really excited about being able to get started on time,” Jason Smith said, Clay County’s head golf coach.

“We feel very blessed to be able to have the opportunity to be out here and play,” Rockcastle County Head Golf Coach Nick Williams added. “All the kids seem to be excited to be out here, coaches are.”

Williams and Rockcastle County hosted the 2020 Rockcastle County Invitational on Tuesday, August 4th after teams got their seasons started the last weekend of July/first weekend of August. The event took place at General Burnside Island Golf Course.

It was a chance for the kids, especially seniors, to get a season.

“My son’s a senior and you know he’s really worried. You know he played baseball, and his baseball season was canceled obviously last year,” Dave Osborne said, parent of one of the golfers on Corbin’s team. “Being able to start it off right by getting his golf season off on the right track is a real blessing.”

“Golf’s been with these kids since they’ve been in the 5th, 6th, 7th grade. So getting out here and an opportunity to play, it’s just a blessing, to be honest,” Smith added.

The tournaments do come with some slight differences, including mask-wearing and a difference in the start and finish of events.

“With COVID guidelines and stuff this year, we’ve switched to tee times to allow for more social distancing, and then also at the end when the results are going on so we have less people around,” Williams said.

However, because of golf’s socially distant nature, much hasn’t changed on the links.

“I haven’t really noticed a whole lot other than the fact that you know people are wearing their masks and kinda staying farther apart than they normally would,” Osborne said. “That’s the great thing about golf. It’s kind of socially distanced on its own.”

Estill County’s Kade Benton won the event, shooting a one-under 70 on the round, while Clay County won the team event, shooting 304 among four golfers.

Somerset’s Kannon Tucker finished second at the event, while CJ Corum of Clay County placed third. Boyle County (2nd - 315) and Estill County (3rd - 318) rounded out the top three of the team competition.

Williams said this is the Rockets’ third event of the year.

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