Believe it or not, there are still sports being played out there.
While the PGA Tour has cancelled all events through May 10, a move that’s in line with similar announcements by the the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, several smaller organizations are allowing golfers to compete … and Delaware’s own Grant Godfrey is taking full advantage.
The former Hayes standout, who saw his collegiate career at the University of Toledo come to an abrupt end when colleges across the country closed to try and limit the spread of coronavirus, made his pro debut last week in the West Florida Golf Tour.
He shot a one-over-par 73 in the Ritz Carlton Series 4 at the Ritz Carlton Members Club last Monday. Godfrey then followed it up with another 73 in yesterday’s Laurel Oak Series 2 at Laurel Oak Country Club. The first effort was good enough for 28th place while his second helped him finish 32nd overall.
Godfrey was in his last semester at Toledo before the pandemic shut pretty much everything down earlier this month. The plan was to go pro after he graduated — he was in his last semester — but things obviously changed.
Even now, despite being able to continue playing the game he loves, golf has a considerably different feel than what he’s used to.
“It was kinda weird,” he said of his pro debut. “There weren’t any fans or caddies allowed … and they took the rakes out of the bunkers and we had to remove the play with our gloves on. We couldn’t shake hands after the round, either.”
They were necessary precautions as social distancing efforts continue to take center stage. The changes weren’t all external, though. Godfrey said the vibe was different internally as well.
“It’s a much different feeling playing for yourself and for money compared to playing with your team at the high school or collegiate level,” he said. “In high school and college, you’re always told to think about the team before taking a high-risk shot around a tree with water on the right. But, playing for yourself gives you some more freedom to take on some bigger shots, especially in a one-day shootout where all you’re doing is trying to make as many birdies as possible.”
The future is somewhat fluid for Godfrey … and everyone else in the world. Travel restrictions could certainly change things, but, for now, Godfrey expects to finish out the West Florida Golf Tour’s winter season, which wraps up with the Winter Tour Championship April 20 in Bradenton, Florida. After that, he plans to play in Japan for a year.
Godfrey said his decision to go overseas had a lot to do with the people he spent the most time with while at Toledo: his girlfriend and his teammates.
“My girlfriend is from Japan and I went over during winter break for 10 days,” he said. “I made a lot of great connections I didn’t plan on making, which in turn has given me the opportunity to go over and have a place to practice and play and gain experience playing around the world.
“There’s a lot to experience in the world and I want to take advantage of all the opportunities that come my way.”
As for his teammates, a handful of them are from other countries as well.
“Going overseas to play has been in my mind since I got to Toledo,” Godfrey said. “Half of my teammates each year were international … so I guess I’ve learned a lot from their experiences competing in different parts of the world.”