It is impossible to actively compete or qualify for major golf tournaments like the US Senior Women’s Open if you do not spend time on the links. Ronda Henderson, a Las Vegas resident amidst the pandemic, has been visiting the golf course to guarantee herself qualification to the US Senior Women’s Open as she did in 2019. However, she has had more company on the golf course despite the pandemic. According to her, “I think people are playing golf now instead of spending time on some other diversions they used to be able to do. I know that more of my friends are playing more golf now because they can.”
Looking at it analytically, golf is perhaps the best game during these times. It is played outdoors and in small, socially distanced groups. That way, players have minimum contact, which lowers the risk of contracting the virus.
Views of Golf Course Operators
The general manager of Angel Park Golf Club, Jim Leisenring, has come out to express his opinion on the recent development. He said, “In my opinion, we have seen one of the biggest influxes of new golfers or people returning to the game since Tiger Woods.
Recent research by Golf Datatech revealed that rounds of golf played have gone up 22 percent in August compared to the same period in 2019. It is the opinion of Brian Hurlburt, a Las Vegas golf writer, that the idle period for many, following the limiting of other activities, has created an opportunity for the industry. In his website, Las Vegas Golf Insider, he said, “For the past ten or fifteen years, it has been a common refrain from golfers to say they do not have four or five hours to play. Now, people relish that opportunity to be outdoors, to be doing something for several hours. They have time now.”
According to Wynn Golf Club director, Brian Hawthorne, “Interestingly, we have seen heavier local presence. Whether you can attribute that to folks who might normally take off for the summer and did not this year and might have some money to spend on a unique golf experience. I am not sure. Quite frankly, we have seen more activity here lately than we probably could have ever imagined.”
Just as all other businesses were closed in March following the directive from the Governor, Steve Sisolak, golf courses in Nevada were also ordered to close. After a few weeks, they were allowed to re-open. However, there are still some restrictions on the golf course that remain to ensure players’ safety. Now, only one person is allowed per golf cart. Also, players are required to wear face masks inside the clubhouse and on their way to the first tee.
According to the same Golf Datatech research, every state in the continental US witnessed a 2% increase in the rounds-played for the second straight month in August.
An employee at the Las Vegas Golf Superstore said that he had noticed an increase in golfers in their 20s and 30s. He also pointed out that a lot more women have been coming around, and that is great for the game. Just how long it will go on after things return to normal is unclear. However, these people may develop a genuine love for the game and continue to come back.