Local Golf Courses Push to Reopen Amid COVID-19
The mandate to shutter golf courses due to COVID-19 is “a disaster” according to Steve Makowske, the superintendent for Centerbrook Golf Course in Brooklyn Center.
“Gov. Tim Walz has us closed to both golf and maintaining the golf course,” Makowske said.
He wants that changed. Makowske said they are taking both issues to numerous golf course associations across the nation including the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
The issue also has thousands of Minnesotans rising up to sign a petition to get Gov. Walz to reopen courses.
“We meet all the parameters for social distancing. After everybody tees off, you’re not within six feet of anyone for the rest of the day,” Makowske explained.
‘This is an Ever-Evolving Situation’
Governor Walz addressed the golf issue during a media briefing Thursday. He says he understands the pain felt by golfers.
“We need to do more work, too. This is an ever-evolving situation,” Walz said on the current stay-at-home restrictions. “I want to acknowledge the situation around golf. I have to keep people functioning the best they can and stay sane. I know if golf is your passion, please know we’re trying to evolve these things. I make these decisions on the best health guidance given to me, but also measuring it against the sustainability of a stay-at-home order that puts a lot of pressure on people.”
Walz says he will adapt based on that guidance given to him.
“For all those folks especially with golf, I’m trying to figure this out. If this is going to last a while, if two can go out and not be beside each other, we maybe need to figure that out. I’m asking my folks to do that.”
Makowske said if courses reopen, they would require single-rider policy for carts, take out benches, ball washers and anything else that would lead to people congregating.
Spring Season Crucial to Business
Don Berry, director of Edinburgh USA in Brooklyn Park told CCX that spring is vital to the golfing business.
“We’ve had a very nice spring, way better than normal,” Berry said. “We feel like each week that goes by, we’re losing a fair amount of money. Money you’re not going to make up.”
He added that they’re saving money on staff, so it’s not a total loss but they wish they were open for business.
‘Stay Off the Grass’
Berry also mentioned Edinburgh USA is trying to maintain the grass as best it can.
“We’re trying to keep everyone off the turf and not to walk across the course,” said Berry. “We had some football and soccer games and it kills the grass.”
Residents are allowed to stroll on the cart paths of Edinburgh but they should avoid walking on the greens, tee boxes and other turf areas of the golf course.
The city of Golden Valley also posted that Brookview Golf Course has seen a number of golfers out on the course, despite the golf course being closed.
Makowske explained that with moisture on the ground, any damage you do now will take roughly six weeks to repair.
“Golfers in Minnesota, we’re a hardy bunch. We lead the nation in golf participation every single year,” Makowske said. “Golf is a lifelong sport and unfortunately we can’t get to it.”