Trey Mireles couldn’t wait to hit the greens and fairways at Foxboro Golf Club on Friday, April 24, when golf courses across the state were given the green light to open.
Mireles, a psychology professor at Madison College, was excited to get outside to golf for the first time this spring.
“The exercise and being able to get out of the house for a little bit was definitely a relief,” Mireles said.
Oregon’s two golf courses – Foxboro Golf Club and The Legend at Bergamont – opened last Friday.
Wisconsin courses had been closed under Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” order to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. Golf courses were allowed to open with safety restrictions under Evers’ amended order on April 16.
Safety restrictions prohibit the use of golf carts. All tee times must be booked by phone or online. Clubhouses and pro shops remain closed and social distancing requirements (at least six feet apart) must be followed.
“Spring golf is to try to get consistent again,” Mireles said. “The fact that you have to walk gets your heart rate going.”
Some establishments are taking additional measures, like spacing out tee times to ensure courses don’t become too crowded with golfers on one hole and keeping driving ranges closed. Many courses have removed ball washers and rakes.
Foxboro is using a bumper wrapped around the bottom of each pin to reduce the touching of the pin or cup.
Cross Plains resident Dave Broome shot a 43 on nine holes at Foxboro last Friday. He said using the bumpers for putting was not a major deal.
“We are not playing on the PGA,” he said. “I’ve been chomping at the bit to play golf, no matter what,” Broome said. “I’m 78 years old and I’m tickled pink every time we can get out.”
The Wisconsin State Golf Association and the Wisconsin PGA lobbied to reopen courses. Golf courses in Wisconsin had been shut down since March 25, but maintenance continued during the shutdown. Mowing the fairways and greens, continued fertilization and chemical application plans were deemed essential.
Thirteen states shut down golf courses, including Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan. Illinois courses may reopen Friday, May 1.