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Pandemic golf had its pluses and minuses

'We were on guard all the time'
20201102_osprey links
Osprey Links Golf Course in Callander, Ontario. Photo courtesy Facebook.

Jeff Rogerson is pretty pleased with the way things went this season at the Osprey Links Golf Course. 

Rogerson, the general manager of the Callander based course, says they closed up golf for the season last week.  

The season had a unique start that went in conjunction with a cold spring. 

 In fact, COVID-19 protocols that kept golf from starting until mid-May really didn't hamper the golf course at all due to Mother Nature. 

"We probably could not have opened before then," said Rogerson.  

"It was a terrible spring. It was cold, wet, lots of snow. We had some winter damage that we could not grow back so although COVID-19 kept us shut, if COVID-19 did not occur, we would have still had a late start to the season. The second thing is, it was a beautiful summer. When the sun finally did come out it was great. June was wonderful, July was good, and August was great until August 20. From that day to today it has been wet."

Rogerson admits golf did feel a bizarre boom in 2020 thanks to golf being one of the rare sports that was considered safe to play during the pandemic.  

"We were somewhat fortunate that we were one of the few activities that people could still participate in and as a result, it created a pretty big demand and a new demand for golf," he said.  

"Some people compare it to the Tiger (Woods) effect from the mid-1990s. People who had not played or had not played in a long time were all of a sudden finding themselves back at the golf course so we were really a true beneficiary of that."

Rogerson calls this season a win-win-lose situation as they navigated through COVID-10 protocols that did restrict them from hosting some annual events.  

"Food and beverage along with our corporate golf tournaments were really affected," he said.  

"We ran very few if any actual corporate events. We did run a number of charity and club events, we were lucky in that regard." 

Rogerson says they were able to host charity tournaments for the Humane Society, Tim Hortons, the North Bay Symphony, and the Osprey Links Golf Gala which supports the North Bay Regional Health Centre.  

"We had smaller crowds though because we had to limit the number of people we could have in the clubhouse at one time," admitted Rogerson.

"They all went from shotgun starts to tee times so when they came off the golf course we could feed them in waves or as they left the golf course and keep the gatherings down. In that sense we were fortunate." 

Yes, it was definitely different. 

"We were on guard all the time," he said.  

"We had to keep records for all the players coming to the golf course and some people really did not understand that."

But like all other golf course general managers, Rogerson is just hoping next spring the only issue they have to be concerned with is the weather conditions and not COVID-19 restrictions. 

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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