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The best socially distanced sports

Fallout from the coronavirus is forcing us to rethink many aspects of our life. One of the most troubling for many people is the closing of gyms and the shutdown of group sports. Even if they are open in your city, many people are hesitant to go back to their regular athletic routines too early. Instead of sitting at home and watching yet another movie on Netflix, why not use this opportunity to try a new, socially distanced sport?


Individual Sports


Although most group sports are not on the radar screen this summer, there are some excellent socially distanced sports that you can do on your own.




Bike riding is an excellent form of exercise. If you aren’t afraid of a few little hills you can get a great cardio workout. It’s also quite useful- get a basket or put on a backpack and you can bike to go shopping, run other errands or even commute to work.


You can also make a day of it and go on a bike ride through some beautiful scenery. This is something easy to do if you live in Tennessee. The state is filled with beautiful cycling trails. And if you are lucky enough to live at The River Club, you have some excellent trails located just a few miles from you in the beautiful Cumberland Mountain State Park.


If cityscapes are more your thing, you can pack up your bikes and go to Nashville. There is a beautiful biking trail that runs along the Cumberland River. You can even stop for an ice cream along the way- our favorite eating activity that can also easily be done while keeping an appropriate social distance from others.




With its proximity to so many gorgeous state and national parks, Fall Creek Falls, located just 35 minutes from The River Club, was named one of the five best state parks in the Southeast by Southern Living magazine. The park is the largest state park in Tennessee and home to the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. It has thirteen hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult. If you are not a hardcore hiker, the easier trails are perfect for fitness walking- and much easier to socially distance from people than if you are walking at a mall. For the more adventurous, the park has two overnight hikes on the Cane Tree Overnight Trail.


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One of the hiking trails at Fall Creek Falls


There are no park entrance fees for The River Club owners.


Sports you can do with friends


With many of us having experienced long lockdowns, some of us crave a little time with friends. With restaurants and bars closed, we need to find other activities to enjoy with our friends and loved ones. Luckily, there are some sports that we can do together and still remain at a safe distance from each other.




Tennis is a non-contact sport that, even before the pandemic, was played mostly outdoors. Participants in a singles match are typically at least 60 feet from each other. To make if even more of a perfectly socially distanced sport, the United States Tennis Association has produced a document in accordance with its Medical Advisory Group that suggests ways to make tennis even safer. These include:


  • No post-match hand shakes or high fives
  • Don’t change ends of the court during a match
  • Use a new racquet grip every time you play
  • Wipe down and disinfect racquets and all equipment after use.



Even without the new measures, tennis is one of the most social, yet still socially distanced sports


Scientists also suggest using more tennis balls than usual (four or six, rather than the usual three). If you follow these simple precautions, tennis is one of the best socially distanced sports.


There are a number of tennis facilities close to The River Club. White County High School, located in Sparta, has three public tennis courts. There are three additional facilities in Crossville, including the Fairfield Glade Racquet Center which is a full service tennis facility. It has four outdoor clay courts plus outdoor hard courts located at Druid Hills CC. The center was the recipient of Tennis Industry Magazine’s “Court of the Year Award.”




Golf is arguably the best socially distanced sport. This is the reason that, during the height of the pandemic, many golf clubs remain open. Even though it is a very social sport, usually played with friends or business associates, players are almost always at least six feet apart. This was true even before covid-19- you can’t get too close to someone swinging a long golf club or you risk getting seriously injured. To quote the PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan,

“Our sport lends itself more so than any other sport to social distancing. If you think about what happens on the field of play, our players are very rarely within six feet of each other. Golf is inherently unique in that regard.”

Golf has the added advantage of enabling you to get out in nature- something most of us can really appreciate right now. As long as you take some small, extra precautions, such as bringing your own water bottle and not sharing golf carts, you can play pretty much as you used to.

If you don’t know how to play golf, now is the perfect time to learn. Most instructors are independent contractors, so are quite worried about losing work. In this environment many of them are happy to take on new clients- often at reduced rates. In just a few lessons you can get an expert to help you craft your swing and learn the basics of chipping and putting. If you are working from home, which many of us still are, your new schedule will likely give you the flexibility to get in some all important practice time.


Tennessee Golf


If you do know how to play golf, Tennessee has some of the best courses in the country. And the green fees are a lot lower than they are in states more famous for golf, such as California or Arizona. In fact, according to the National Golf Federation’s survey of green fees, Tennessee was the fifth cheapest state in the country to play golf, with an average greens fee of $37.40.


Nearby Crossville is known as The Golf Capital of Tennessee, and for good reason. It is home to ten championship golf courses, including the Jack Nicklaus designed Bear Trace at the Cumberland Mountain State Park. This 18 hole, 72 par course was named the #1 course in Tennessee by Golf Week Magazine in 2012 and 2013.


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Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain. Photo courtesy of Tennessee State Parks website


Close to The River Club you can also find the historic Honors Course outside Chattanooga and the PGA’s highest recommended golf course in Tennessee, the President’s Reserve at The Hermitage. The later is located along the banks of the beautiful Cumberland River.


If you don’t mind driving a little, you can spend years playing all of Tennessee’s 336 golf courses.


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Bear Trace at Harrison Bay. Photo courtesy of Tennessee State Parks.


Looking for a change of pace?


Is the whole coronavirus pandemic making you rethink your current lifestyle? You are not alone. Many city dwellers are looking at their options and considering moving to a more rural location. We find this is particularly true for people that are now working from home on a permanent basis.


If you are looking for a more remote place to live, we invite you to consider The River Club. It is located in beautiful Sparta, Tennessee. Nestled in rolling hills, with a river running through the property, you can wake up every day to the beauty and tranquility of nature. Moreover, it is a short drive into Nashville, with its country music, shopping, restaurants and bars. To learn more, you can read: 10 Reasons Sparta, Tennessee is the best remote place to live.


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If you like living in the country, The River Club is an excellent choice





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