• The Presence of Coliforms and Fecal Coliforms in a Sports Environment

      Caballer-Hernani, Teresa; Covington, Katherine; Chen, Lin; Department of Psychological Sciences (2016-03)
      Golf is relatively unique compared to other sports, with large nature landscapes providing the area of play. Golf courses are often home to wildlife and provide rest stops for migratory birds. Animal inhabitants, as well as natural streams and ponds, provide an ideal environment for the proliferation of coliforms and fecal coliforms. Unlike other sports, golfers may engage in several hand to mouth behaviors (e.g. licking their fingers to clean mud off a ball, eating food during play). Furthermore, the research team hypothesizes that golfers may not clean some of their equipment frequently (e.g. gloves, bags). To assess golfers’ potential exposure to coliforms and fecal coliforms during a round of golf, swabs were taken from a pilot sample of ten golfers’ hands and equipment prior to and following their round of golf. A brief survey assessed golfers’ hand washing, eating and golf equipment cleaning behaviors. While none of the golfers’ hands tested positive for fecal coliforms prior to the round of golf, 55% of the golfers’ equipment and/or hands tested positive after the round. No golfers reported cleaning their gloves or bags, and most reported they would likely lick their fingers and/or eat while golfing.