Hydration on the golf course is important, whether it's extremely hot and humid outside or not. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, one of the trickiest new wrinkles of the golf experience is the fact that in an effort to reduce common touchpoints - surfaces that could be stages for virus transmission - many golf courses have removed the familiar big plastic jugs that dispense water at the push of a plastic button.
Those hunter green or yellow-and-red behemoths have long been rewarding sanctuaries for weary walkers, but they're falling by the wayside in favor of more sophisticated metal newcomers. What these water fountains lack in retro elegance, they make up in efficiency and paper-cup waste reduction. Big coolers full of bottled water at upscale resorts and private clubs are prestigious-looking, but they're also plastic-intensive. Practically every golfer carries an insulated tumbler or water bottle these days, anyway, so the new breed's sensor that whooshes cold water into your bottle when it's positioned under the spout fits much better with golfers' current habits.
Another nice feature of these new-fangled fountains - Elkay's EZH2O models, similar to what's at my course, go for around $1,700 - is a small screen and digital counter announcing how many plastic bottles that particular fountain has saved since installation. The ones at my home course, Sandridge Golf Club, were installed more than two years ago (i.e. pre-COVID-19) and have saved nearly 7,000 plastic bottles each. It's a modest but earnest reminder of how those sorts of environmentally-friendly savings add up over time. If their wider adoption at golf facilities can be a silver lining to the pandemic, so much the better.