Could Covid-19 be the #BoostGolfCourses need for increased play?

Wabash Valley Golf

As we all manage our daily routine, under the new normal, during the #COVID19 #Pandemic, and look for ways to get more physical activity and engagement, yet stay “#SociallyDistant”, it crossed my mind that Golf is probably the one sport that already offers a #WireFrame for being the ideal activity.  So I decided to scrape the web and call on some of our local courses from our list on the #ValleyGolfCard to see what they had to say.

I was able to talk to Pat Cannon from Hulman Links pro shop and she shared some rules and information about their #Covid19 #GolfEtiquette. Since Illinois courses are currently closed, Indiana courses are seeing an increase in play, according to Pat Cannon.  Pat was able to confirm that they are seeing younger and newer players.

Here are some of the new normal for #COVID19 #GolfEtiquette reported by Pat and other courses that remain open:

  1. One person per cart unless you cohabitate
  2. Only employees allowed in the club house
  3. Limited numbers allowed in pro shop
  4. Mostly packaged foods sold but some courses have made accommodations
  5. Flag in place always
  6. No raking sand in bunkers
  7. Carts sanitized between each use

For the most part the above rules are followed by most golf courses during the season, excluding states that have strict restrictions, but you are encouraged to reach out to each, prior to an outing.

I spoke to Greg Towne, Director of Terre Haute City Golf and he had this to say about golfers during this unusual season; “for the most part golfers have been very respectful and cordial in accommodating #SocialDistancing.  Overall we have such a great park system and when people play golf they are typically playing with their families or people they know so they are essentially living together or able to keep friends accountable for #SocialDistancing.”  He added that everybody has had a great attitude in coping with this situation.

I was also able to talk to Dr Venkat Reddy, MD, and owner of the Landing At Fort Harrison Golf Course. As a medical professional in the community he is keenly sensitive to the #SocialDistancing aspects and other safety measures required to fend off the #Covid19 virus but also understands the need for the social, mental, and physical engagement for so many in isolation.  All current requirements are being implemented at the Landing At Fort Harrison Golf Course, according to Dr Reddy. He also noted that they have been seeing more younger and newer players to their course as a result of this season.  Dr Reddy stated “golf is a relatively safe physical activity almost close to hiking , but lot of seniors like to play golf so please continue to follow social distancing and try not to congregate in groups before or after and be patient with the golf crew while they are trying their best to maintain sanitation.”

One story, on my quest, really stood out.  When I called the main number for Mark’s Par 3, I was surprised to find that they remain open, with no cart service, no employees on site, and use an honor system or “ePay” system to facilitate play.  I reached out to Candy LeGrange McCord and spoke to her about their unique solution to dealing with this #pandemic.  Candy was also able to confirm that they are seeing more and more high school and college age students and newer faces.  Even though they can scan their security cameras and identify people, that do not necessarily honor their system, for the most part they realize that golfers, by the very nature of the sport are honorable.  Candy also added that they understand that some patrons may not be able to afford the full rates, so they have asked for them to “please chip in if you can,” pun intended, whatever they can afford.  An endearing sentiment as our community stays #StrongerTogether.

I reached out to Janis Ludeks- Pro Shop Manager at Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Illinois for his perspective on the May 1st opening date for their Golf Courses.  In their current state, the rules, according to the Illinois.gov, are more restrictive than what is currently being practiced by most Indiana courses, according to Janis. He is concerned for Illinois courses that were hanging on by a thread, before the #pandemic, and anticipates many may close their doors permanently if changes are not made quickly. He was also able to confirm that most of his regular players have been traveling to the Indiana side, reiterating Pat Cannon’s earlier assertion.

We have all been inundated with information regarding the #virus, and the information is constantly changing.  Who really knows what changes may follow?  But change is certain and supporting each other and, in this case, our local golf courses, may be a natural silver lining due to this bourgeoning #pandemic. The pulse from Golf Course front lines, suggest that there may be some new adopters, a bright spot in an otherwise dismal outlook. 

If you’d like to support these local courses as they work towards a comeback, and get some much needed activity for you and perhaps your family, and “manageable” friends, visit our #ValleyGolfCard page for a list of some of our local courses and maybe plan an outing. Stay safe and please practice all prevailing #SocialDistancing and other recommendations as prescribed.

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