'I don't think anybody guessed this': Alta. golf courses avoid mulligan during season of uncertainty
EDMONTON -- Most golf courses in Alberta shutdown last week, ending a season that started with stress and doubt.
They teed off late because of COVID-19 and ended early. But many courses did more than just survive. They thrived.
“We had no idea what to expect,” said Mill Woods Golf Course Superintendent Todd Paquette.
Despite the late start, rule changes on touch points and regulations on physical distancing, Mill Woods Golf Course was one of the public courses that saw an increase across the board in almost every area.
“Up in rounds played. Up in revenue. Our range was just crazy busy on any day...we basically lost six weeks and we were still up well over 20 per cent,” Paquette told CTV news.
“WE WERE VERY LUCKY”
According to the Alberta Golf Association, public courses in the province posted decade-high tee sheets.
“We had a great summer from start to finish. The protocols went well. The courses kind of stuck with it,” said Kevin Smith of Alberta Golf.
Public and private courses did lose revenue in clubhouses, dining areas and from the inability to host tournaments because of COVID-19 restrictions. However, there was a resurgence for the sport. Including a big boost at the junior level.
“New kids got into it. Kids who already played golf played twice as much and we saw a huge explosion in youth golf for sure,” said Smith.
Overall golf courses, but especially many public tracks, managed to save the season. Thanks to an unexpected resurgence during the pandemic.
“It either reintroduced or introduced a lot of people to golf. We saw a lot of new faces out here,” added Paquette.