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Golfers and courses look to stay on their games with simulators

Despite COVID-19 mandates this year, area golfers and golf courses enjoyed successful outdoor season.

“Last spring, we were doing very well before things came to a screeching halt,” Dennis Sniezyk, owner of Holland Meadows Golf Course, said. “Once we got going, it was one of the best seasons we have had in quite a few years. A lot of kids and young adults played. It was kind of the way it used to be.”

With winter closing in quickly, the courses are looking to keep the momentum going with the help of golf simulators.

“I believe that people are going to embrace the opportunity to continue to work on their golf game, considering what everyone has gone through,” Fox Run Golf Course owner and PGA pro Rich Scott said.

“We just upgraded to the latest in technology featuring over 200,000 golf courses, and a comprehensive teaching and fitting program.”

Golf simulators give golfers a chance to keep their swings sharp, while playing on different courses projected on to a screen.

“Golf courses used to be closed from the end of October to who knows when in April,” Sniezyk said. “Now when that closes up, this gets going and when this closes up the outdoor gets going.”

Some of the outdoor mandates, like no sharing clubs, wearing masks and no high-fives, will carry over to the indoor season.

“We can only assume that we are in the same category as bowling alleys and will have to follow the same guidelines because there are not too many [indoor golf facilities] in the state,” said Holland Meadows course manager Adam Rose. “Basically, when they were allowed to reopen that is when we started to decide what we were going to do.”

There will also be some changes from what golfers experienced in past years.

“Normally we allow eight players to a booth, but now it will be a maximum of four players per booth,” Rose said. “We have removed a lot of tables and they are actually spaced more than is required. We will sanitize everything that has been touched between groups. Things like the touch screens and tables.”

The reduction of players in Holland Meadows’ four booths is also expected to speed up playing time.

“In the old days, if you had eight guys in a booth to play nine holes it took four hours,” Rose said. “Now you get your two-hour window for the four guys and that’s it. Definitely, the socialization is less and there are some people who are liking this format because it gets them in and out quickly and safely.”

Tournament-play also will have a different look.

“We have gone to shifts for our tournaments, so we can still accommodate 30 to 40 people, just not all at once,” Sniezyk said.

Both facilities have already seen golfers taking advantage of the indoor facilities.

“We just opened and already have had tremendous response,” Scott said. “We will continue our protocols in keeping with all CDC guidelines. We are open for day-to-day play and have league opportunities.”

Sniezyk said Holland Meadows is also getting into the swing of things.

“I think we are where we normally are this time of year,” he said. “It gets busier after the holidays. January, February and March are when we are really busy, then we are getting ready to go back outside.”

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