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Area golf courses off to a busy start

Golf courses in the area opened on May 15 under a veil of uncertainty, having to make many preparations in order to adhere to physical distancing restrictions set out by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).
golf courses off to busy start
Carlyle Golf Club clubhouse manager Martin Tourand is experiencing a busy start to the 2020 golf season.

         Golf courses in the area opened on May 15 under a veil of uncertainty, having to make many preparations in order to adhere to physical distancing restrictions set out by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).

         Golf has always been known as the “Grand Old Game” and once again this statement is valid based on the start of the 2020 golf season.

Carlyle Golf Club opened on May 15 and similar to the other courses in the area were wondering what the bottom line may look like when it was all in the books come fall. 

         One of the restrictions was a reduced number of tee times meaning that courses would in general see about 10 less times a day available to book golfers.

         At Carlyle Golf Club, clubhouse manager Martin Tourand is seeing positive numbers after the first week of operation, with the booking sheet full. “It is a situation everyone is looking to golf and that has actually been a boon to the course,” Tourand stated.

         Carol Frecon, clubhouse manager at the Redvers and District Golf Course, responded to the golf traffic situation there, “Busy, very busy” and confirmed, “That’s exactly the same” when it came to availability of tee times making note that the desired time to golf there was late afternoon and evening times filling first with the likelihood of finding a booking better early in the day.

         Tourand, who is operating with about half the staff at this time compared to last year and due to the food service being under strict guidelines ascertains, “Golfers are having no problems adapting to the new rules because it is one of the few activities people can do right now. On weekdays a person is more likely to find a booking more suitable to one’s schedule.” Both courses have take-out food in a limited capacity, and will adjust when the planned restrictions on restaurants are revised June 8.

         With almost all tee times filled, revenue is up and staff costs are lower, staff will need to be added once other restrictions are lifted and courses are able to offer more services.

         Early bird memberships in Carlyle were down, as it was a wait and see situation due to the uncertainty of when courses would be able to open. The Carlyle course, upon opening, is now seeing most memberships being renewed and also several new memberships have been sold. Golf is one of the very few activities now available to people due to the pandemic that is outdoors to enjoy during the summer and is likely the reason for the uptick in new memberships.

         Diane Friesen, who is clubhouse manager at Moose Creek Golf Course, is enjoying good participation at the links there, “The course is busy for this time of year,” she commented.

         Generally in the past Moose Creek course did not use bookings and used a walk-on system for golfers. Friesen stated, “Having a tee time at Moose Creek is a first and seems to be working very well.” it is a change that the Moose Creek course had to transition to under the new guidelines set by the SHA.

         Golf Kenosee is in the Moose Mountain Provincial Park could be the one exception when it comes to traffic, having the luxury of being in one of Saskatchewan’s most popular tourist destinations. It always had good numbers and the trepidation at the course is the reduced tee times available and may greatly reduce revenue.

Weekends are always busy at Golf Kenosee and bookings have always been at a premium. Pro Shop staffer Kevin Dyck was asked about the availability of times during the week, “The course is nice and steady during the day.”

          All courses are looking forward to the season and no real problems have been experienced so far in terms of the golfing public enjoying each of these facilities. One other point that was stressed, was that anyone not being able to make their tee time to please let the clubhouse know as soon as possible so that others can book and enjoy the “grand old game”.