The coronavirus pandemic has definitely given everyone a lot of time on their hands. St. Tammany’s beautiful weather makes all residents want to enjoy the outdoors and the areas many golf courses provide a perfect space to do so.
St. Tammany golf course owners and golf teaching professionals have seen a spike in business during the pandemic. The wide-open spaces of a golf course is a great place for people to get outdoors and social distance.
“Golf is having an uptick in terms of play across the state and the country,” Pinewood Golf Pro Ted Elliot said. “It’s really the ultimate way to play and still social distance. People are able to enjoy nature and be safe at the same time. Honestly, I think some people forgot how fun it is to play golf. I think that some of it will stick, I really do. I think people will pick up some new hobbies, and stick with it even when things start to open back up.”
Money Hill, close to Abita Springs, has seen an uptick in rounds played as well as Pinewood Golf Club and Oak Harbor Golf Club in Slidell and Beau Chene Country Club in Mandeville. In fact, Pinewood Golf Club has seen a 55% increase since this time last year.
There has not only been an uptick in players, but also a big increase in the diversity of players. Golf owner Chris Smith has seen a lot of new visitors this spring. He says there have been more women and children taking up the sport. Justin Lotz, Oak Harbor Golf Club owner, says he enjoys seeing so many first time golfers.
Residents need not worry about safety measures at the golf courses. Tee times are booked only online and players check-in once they arrive which is a contactless process. Only one person can ride in a golf cart at a time and no player can touch or remove flagsticks. The bunker rakes and sand bottles have also been removed.
“Golf fits in line with what the governor says (about getting) outside and enjoying nature,” said Greg Klemp, general manager and COO at Money Hill Golf and Country Club near Abita Springs. “We’re happy to see our members taking advantage of that, and everyone has been very generous to our staff. Golf is an activity where you can still socially distance.”
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