Normally by this time of the year we’ve had our practice range open for a few weeks. Usually we’re getting all of our mowers sharpened, and like the little kid in the back seat pestering his dad ‘Are we there yet?,’ I’m asking our Green Superintendent Chad Armell ‘When do you think we’ll be able to open the course?’ on nearly a daily basis.
Oh how things are so different in 2020.
We did open our range on March 14th, but quickly closed it on March 25th when Governor Mills mandated that all ‘non-essential’ businesses in the state of Maine close. We re-opened on March 27th after clarification of her mandate.
It was not a decision that was made lightly. Amongst the questions we asked ourselves:
Is it socially responsible to be open?
Is being open worth the revenue that we would generate in the months of March, April and May?
How do we take care of our employees?
Are we putting ourselves in harms-way by being open?
How is our small, seasonal business going to be able to pay our bills and survive?
We did a lot of research, talked to a lot of people, and did a lot of soul searching. A LOT of soul searching. After all of that, we went step-by-step through our entire process of how to have a safe environment for our patrons, how we could limit ‘touches,’ how we could run our business and make all of this work within the guidelines set by our Governor.
Here is a link to our Facebook page, showing what we came up with, along with all of our current policies:
Good arguments can be made, both for and against, whether or not we should be open.
From a safety standpoint, we finally decided that if people will follow all of the guidelines we have in place, hitting a bucket of range balls or playing a round of golf is probably safer than going to the grocery store or the gas station.
Is it essential? Again, good arguments can be made either way, and we respect everyone’s perspective.
In the end, golf, by its nature, is a social distancing activity. There are a lot of benefits to being able to get outdoors, take in some fresh air and get your body moving. As long as everyone is respectful of their fellow human beings, and will follow the guidelines we have in place, golf is a safe, healthy activity that everyone can enjoy during a period of time that is arguably the most stressful any of us have ever endured during our lives.