Golf courses hoping lack of COVID restrictions counteract late start to season

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Golfers may have not been able to hit the tees as early as usual because of a pair of storms that swept across southern and central Manitoba but that will soon change.

The City of Winnipeg announced city run courses will be opening up in the coming days and bookings are already being made.

The openings start on Friday with the Kildonan Park Golf Course. It will feature nine holes starting on Friday with the rest of the holes opening in the coming weeks. The following day the Crescent Drive course will be fully open, and on Tuesday, May 10, Windsor Park Golf Course will feature a modified course.

The city said the entire course for Kildonan and Windsor will open as conditions allow and as water levels recede in the areas.

Some rural courses have been delaying tee times due to the storms. Ivan Koop, the general manager and head golf professional with Grand Pines Golf Course said they usually open about a week or so later than Winnipeg, but the significant weather has pushed their start date back.

“We don’t have a start date yet, we are looking for the week prior to May Long Weekend or My Long Weekend at the latest,” said Koop. “The course conditions are looking great. They are wet, don’t get me wrong…but we are coming along nicely.”

Koop said the extra moisture in April was not ideal and it will have a financial impact the upcoming season.

“Our season is short enough in Manitoba," he said. "Every day you are not getting golfers on the course, you are losing your green fee revenue and you’re losing your subsidiary revenue that you get for your food and beverage and everything else that goes along with it.”

Dean North, the general manager of the Carman Golf and Curling Club, also pushed back the start of the golf season by a few weeks, with the plan to begin operations on May 9.

“April 20 is usually the date for Manitoba when golf gets going, for us for sure. Now we are May 9, whatever that is, 15, 16 days,” said North. “The golf industry it has done so well the last couple of years, it’s a bit of a nuisance to have to wait, and annoying like you say, but we’re just happy to get this winter behind us and it will feel so great to step on a golf course on Monday.”

Despite the setbacks, both Koop and North are hoping the delayed start time will be counteracted by an increase in the number of people hitting the golf course –especially since there won’t be any COVID-19 restrictions this year.

“I’m looking forward to not having restrictions and rules on us this summer, it will be refreshing again. If someone break’s a rule they will be breaking the golf course’s rule and not Manitoba Health’s rules,” said North.

“With COVID last year we did have a two-week plus stretch where it was only families from the same household could play together. So we had a lot of single golfers going out for two weeks,” said Koop. “That was an impact last and hopefully we will be able to make some of those rounds that we didn’t get in last year during that time even though we are starting later because we will be able to go out with full foursomes.”

Koop and North said people are excited to get out on the greens and play some golf again.

For those who want to book tee times in the city, they can visit the city’s website.