Golf courses busier than ever during the pandemic

Golf

Golfers are coming out to play in record numbers this summer.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With most sports at a standstill this summer, golf is experiencing a renaissance.

“We’re as busy as we’ve ever been,” says Chris DeVincentis, head pro at Eagle Vale golf course. “People can’t get out and do other things, so they’re out here golfing.”

Open golf rounds are at an all-time high around the area and memberships are up, too. At Sodus Bay, a semi-private course, they saw an increase of over 50 memberships after holding flat the past few years. 

“Even through the pandemic and through all the craziness this spring, in the months of March and April we were still getting membership applications in, so we were fortunate,” says Andrew Smith, the head pro at the course.

And it’s not just one group of golfers leading the surge, it’s across the board. That includes kids taking lessons and bringing their parents into the game.

“Now the parents want to try it either again with them or just to begin. They’ve never played before,” says DeVincentis.  

While the golf courses may be packed it doesn’t quite make up for the lack of restaurant sales, canceled weddings, and events. As DeVincentis puts it in golf terms, it’s like they’re shooting a 35 on one half of their business and a 50 on the other. 

“I guess it’s a little bittersweet because it couldn’t be much more perfect because the golf conditions are phenomenal, people are coming out in droves,” says DeVincentis. “Then when you come in, we’ve got a snack bar and you can just barely go into the restaurant or maybe eat outside. And then there are no banquets at all, no weddings. That’s a big part of our business, too.”

In the meantime, the focus is keeping the golf courses full, and trying to turn these new golfers into lifelong fans. 

“I hope this isn’t just a one-year thing,” says Smith. “I hope it’s a trend where all golf clubs around the area stay busy. It’s great to see.”

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