Golf courses getting busy during COVID-19

 AREA (May 7) -- Perhaps even more than usual, golf has become a recreational escape for many during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 Local golf courses have seen a strong turnout of both members and guest golfers during the early weeks of the season.
 Some clubhouses have opened up for dining again - with social distancing - while others are taking to-go orders for “patio side” pick up.
 As the spring weather continues to improve, the course traffic is only expected to increase.
 “It’s been really nice to see some new faces, and some regular faces again, too, now that we can,” said Megan Londo, who has served about a month as the new clubhouse manager at Harlan Golf and Country Club.
 “We encourage anybody to come out and try it... and if they like it, they can join as a member. We’d love it. (Golf) is exactly the one thing you can do [right now]. And bring your family. We’d love to see more kids and family members out here together.”
 Londo is excited to report that members can once again hang out and dine inside the clubhouse, which is limited to about 50 percent capacity.
 “All of our tables are more than six feet apart,” she said. “We actually spaced out chairs six feet apart, so we can seat multiple tables of four in the bar area and then we have quite a few tables in the dining room and we also have our ball room set up for dining right now.”
 As for on the course, COVID-19 restrictions are still in place. The most common rules include one person per cart unless individuals are from the same household and leaving all pins in the hole to avoid contamination.
 “Nobody is touching any of the flag poles when they putt,” Londo said. “We put a little cylinder in the bottom of the (cup) so that nobody has to actually touch the pole to pull the ball out.”
 Reports from the Rosman Glendale Shelby County Golf Course have indicated a marked increase in course traffic during recent weeks. According to their Facebook site, the clubhouse opened for dining this week with social distancing in place.
 As of Wednesday, the Avoca CountryView Golf & Clubhouse had not opened its dining area but was offering an extensive to-go menu and reported an increase in golf memberships for 2020.
 Brian Lage, clubhouse manager at the Manning Manilla Golf Course, indicated a slight increase in course traffic from previous years, especially on nice days.
 “People want something to do,” he said.
 Londo added that the price of new golf memberships has decreased at Harlan Golf and Country Club this year. She encouraged those who are interested to stop by the clubhouse or visit the course website, harlangolf.com.

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