The clear day with little wind provides ideal conditions for golfers like Charles Kang, who needs his fix.

“Beautiful, sunny day outside, so enjoy the day,” Kang said.

With most of the south Island shut down including pools, rec-centres and hockey rinks; golf courses like Highland Pacific are bucking the trend, and thriving.

“It’s a pretty good social distancing sport,” said Highland Pacific regular Tom White.

Highland Pacific GM Jeff Palmer says despite the virus, numbers are on pace to exceed last March.

“People know there’s an impending lock-down, where people get to self-isolate at home so I think we’re seeing some demand and maybe some last-minute golfing desire there,” said Palmer.

Palmer says other courses in Victoria are seeing similar results. The course, however, has had to adapt to the pandemic.

“Every 10-15 minutes we are cleaning surfaces and taking that sanitation to another level, but also removing a lot of touchpoints,” said Palmer.

Flags on the practice putting green have been removed, ball washers have been taped off and rakes have been removed from sand traps. The course is anticipating further measures including shutting down the restaurant and pro shop, promoting online bookings and payment. The changes, however, are viewed as a minor inconvenience for golfers who are hoping to keep playing as long as its deemed safe by authorities.

“It’s the great escape from the news of the day,” said White.

“To be able to come out, play some golf, escape what’s going on around us is great,” said Palmer.  “Until we’re mandated to shut down, we wanna allow people that choice.”

 

Kevin Charach