The coronavirus pandemic has created uncertainty for people looking to get out of their home and participate in recreational activities, but golf is among the activities that fit the “social distancing” bill.
Most public and private golf courses are continuing to welcome golfers who would like to get a round in, including Riverside Golf Club in Chehalis.
The golf club has shut down their bar and restaurant and made minor adjustments like removing the rakes from sand traps, asking golfers to leave the pin in the hole when they putt and additional sanitation measures for golf carts, so golfers can limit germ spreading.
But just because courses are still allowed to operate doesn’t mean Riverside Golf Club hasn’t felt the strain that COVID-19 has put on the economy.
“We’re doing a little more than half (of the business) of what I would think we would be doing with weather like this and the golf course as good as it is right now,” head golf pro Austin Abbott said. “It’s a bummer, no doubt about it,”
On a day like last Wednesday the golf club would typically sell more than 100 rounds, Abbott said, but they only managed to sell about 60 rounds.
On Thursday, Abbott said business was doing a little better, but he suspected that was likely due to the clear skies and sunshine.
Despite Abbott saying business was down, there were still golfers out and about on the course on Thursday at noon.
Of the ten groups of golfers The Chronicle spoke to, five said they were avid golfers and would have been golfing at Riverside that afternoon regardless of the coronavirus, three said the coronavirus gave them a good reason to golf and two said they were somewhere in between.
Ryan Feyrer is one of the golfers who would have been at Riverside that afternoon regardless of the coronavirus.
He said he golfs about once a day and is an aspiring professional golfer.
But the severity of the disease is not lost on him. Feyrer said his mother is a nurse so he sees the impact coronavirus has and is abiding by all the precautionary measures that are encouraged.
Similarly to Feyrer, a foursome of older men said they are trying to do their part by not touching as many things and keeping their distance from people, but the group golfs every Thursday and the weekly gathering is a priority to them.
Typically, the more casual golfers were the ones who were influenced to get out on the course because of the coronavirus.
Luke Salme came out to Riverside with his two sons, who otherwise would have been in school, and considers himself to be a casual golfer.
“We saw the weather was good and it was going to rain next week so we figured we’d have some fun instead of sitting inside all day,” Salme said.
Abbott concluded his thoughts on the coronavirus and its impact on Riverside Golf Club with an inclination that some folks may have just assumed that golf courses would be closed too. He wanted to assure locals that Riverside is still open for business.