More Manitobans hitting the golf course amid COVID-19 restrictions
WINNIPEG -- With Manitoba under strict public health orders, golf, one of the few activities that is still permitted, has become an especially popular hobby.
“Golf courses have been extremely busy since last season,” said Rob Damsgaard, director of golf at The Players Course.
“It’s been one of the areas where people can enjoy themselves and get out in the sunshine.”
Under current public health restrictions, indoor sports and recreation activities are not allowed, and outdoor sports and recreation activities are limited to five participants. Organized team sports are not permitted.
A number of businesses are closed as well, including gyms and fitness centres, however, golf courses are open.
Damsgaard said during the pandemic, a number of people have opted to take up the sport.
“Every day there’s someone new walking in that says, “I’ve never played before,’” he said.
“We give them a club, we get them started, and some of that is carrying over.”
Damsgaard added that when the pandemic first began, he was worried about how it would impact the golf course’s revenue. However, it worked out in their favour.
“We know that on a nice weather day, we’re going to sell out,” he said.
Golfer Marlene Friesen said the sport is all about being outside, being with friends and enjoying nature.
“We’ve got a lot of new ladies, and lots of new faces, so it’s a good chance to make new friends,” she said.
“It’s busy and that’s great.”
WILL THE POPULARITY LAST?
Damsgaard said he thinks this influx in new players will help the game of golf even after the pandemic has ended.
“Even if 10 or 15 or 20 per cent of people stick with the game, it’s going to be good for us,” Damsgaard said.
Golfer Brenda McEachern said she thinks the sport’s popularity will last after the pandemic.
“Once you start golfing and you’re out on the course and enjoying the game, I’m sure people will be back,” she said.
- With files from CTV’s Glenn Pismenny and Danton Unger.