Busy season for area golf courses despite COVID-19 pandemic

Daily Herald File Photo Danny Kulghart makes a tee shot while Greg Swenson watches on during the final round of the 2020 Men’s Northern at the Cooke Municipal Golf Course in August.

As golf courses around Saskatchewan prepared for the 2020 season, the biggest question was how the year going to look like due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although things started a little later than normal, it turned out to be a successful season for area courses as business was steady from start to finish.

“I thought it would be busy but I didn’t expect things to be as busy as they were,” Kachur’s Golf Club owner Patty Kachur said. “We’re more of a tournament course here and we didn’t have any tournaments until late July, but we had a full tee sheet and our ladies and men’s nights were very good.”

“We were pleasantly surprised with the amount of people that we had and it was probably one of our betters seasons in a number of years,” Fairview Fairways CPGA golf pro Gord Hobson added. “We had more people taking up the game of golf and we had a lot of families that were trying out golf for the first time. Hopefully we can see those people continue to play the sport next year.”

As with all aspects of life this year, golf courses and golfers had to follow the rules and protocols that were put in place prior to the start of the season.

“We really didn’t know what to expect when the season started in May,” Cooke Municipal Golf Course head pro Darcy Myers said. “I think there were a lot of people that were very conservative about what they did with COVID-19 going around, but a lot of people found that they were able to maintain the social distancing guidelines while out on the course.

“After the initial start to the season, I think people got a little more comfortable out there and they got used to the guidelines that we implemented at our course. They knew that they were safe and they were able to play more than ever.”

Although some tournaments didn’t take place year due to the pandemic, such as the Golf Saskatchewan Senior Championships in July, Cooke was able to host their annual Men’s Northern tournament in August and their club championships a month later.

The Waskesiu Golf Course, which was profiled in a Daily Herald article last month, held all four of their annual Lobstick tournaments during the final two months of the year.

“We had to make some adjustments of course, but our tournaments went off without a hitch, which we were very happy about,” Myers said. “We’re hoping that we can have a few more next year as they are always big events at our club.”

While the dates and the guidelines that will be in place for the 2021 golf season are still to be determined, some of the protocols that courses used this summer may remain on a longer-term basis.

“There are some of the things that we did this year that I really liked,” owner Laurale Cartier of Mark’s 9 Golf and Country Club said. “We disinfected and pressure washed our carts after each round and I think we’re going to keep doing that.

“When you get busy at the course…the carts can get pretty dusty, especially when there’s no rain. So to be able to keep them clean all year is something that we will continue to do in the years to come, along with some other things that we will look at during the off-season.”