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Jimmy Hanlin: Coping with Covid in Cleveland

Jimmy Hanlin: Coping with Covid in Cleveland

After thousands of confirmed cases and hundreds of deaths in Ohio, people are (hopefully) staying at home to help protect each other from the spread of COVID-19. One of these people is PGA Professional, TV host, and colorful pants connoisseur Jimmy Hanlin.

If you’re somehow not familiar, Hanlin is a charismatic personality and host of several national golf shows, including Fox Sports’ 18 Holes with Jimmy Hanlin, The Golf Zone, Links to the Game, and Swing Clinic, where he can be seen doling out pro-caliber golf tips and sporting his signature brightly colored slacks.

Hanlin has had a bit of a tumultuous experience with COVID-19: both of his parents contracted the virus early on, giving him and his family quite a scare. Luckily, they’ve both made a full recovery. “It’s been almost 30 days now since they contracted it, and they’re completely recovered,” Hanlin says. “My mom had pneumonia, so that got a little scary there for a bit when she was struggling with that, but they both fought through it and they’re good.”

Happy that the scare has passed, he jokes, “They’re probably about ready to kill each other in their house right now, because they’ve been together too long. I told my dad, ‘You survived the virus, I don’t know if you’re going to survive two more weeks with mom. She’s gonna take you out right now.’”

Golfing is one of the few activities that has managed to escape the rigors of the statewide business-closures in response to COVID-19; with golfers already spread out widely over the course, the sport is tailor-made for social distancing. As such, hitting the links has been a source of refuge for folks suffering from the acute effects of cabin fever over the past month.

Bringing a golf course up to the sanitary standards necessitated by COVID-19 has proven to be a lot of work, but Hanlin says the gratitude of the customers makes it well worth the extra effort. “As people walk by … they literally thank you for being open,” attests Hanlin. “They’re just so cooped up and so dying to get out of the house to do anything.”

As host of four nationally broadcasted television programs, as well as regular involvement with courses in the region, Hanlin is typically a pretty busy guy. Lately, he’s been enjoying spending time with his two teenage sons, although this might be more work than his jobs. “I’ve played more one-on-one basketball in 30 days than I’ve probably played since college,” he laughs.

Concerning his television work, social distancing has put several of the projects on hold, but he’s been able to adapt. “I shot a couple coronavirus tip shows with stuff you could in your house and around your backyard, drills, and stuff like that,” he says. Shot with a condensed video crew as a precaution, Hanlin is very pleased with the results. “It went great. One of my bosses from Fox said it was one of the best shows we’ve ever done.”

When asked what he’s going to do first when the statewide shutdown lifts, Hanlin gave a quintessentially Cleveand response: “Go to a bar, man,” he laughs, “Oh man, I’m gonna sit right in that bar seat and I might just stay all day.”

All in all, Hanlin is optimistic. “Life brings changes, you know? This is obviously an extensive one, but you just try to make the best of it.” He adds confidently, “Something good will come out of this. It might just be caring about our neighbors a little more. Not that we wanted this to happen, but hopefully something good comes of it.”

Lastly, and most importantly, the generally accepted protocol of wearing masks in public hasn’t hindered Hanlin’s keen sense of fashion. Has he been able to find masks that match his trademark outfits? “I haven’t had to put a mask on yet,” he says, “but when the time comes it won’t be white and boring. I can promise you that.”

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