With restrictions on golf in the province due to the COVID-19 pandemic lifted as of May 15 – part of Phase One of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan -- both the Hillcrest Golf Course and Lynbrook Golf Course were back in action bright and early Friday, and as you might imagine, there were a lot of smiling faces around the two 18-hole layouts.
Among the first to tee off at the Hillcrest was the foursome of Fred Wigmore, Randy Barber, Bev Barber and Rob Donnelly. Unlike in the past when groups would be able to simply show up at the course and do the usual pre-round routine before hitting the links, this time around it was one group in the tee box area at a time, with the following foursome waiting at a parking lot checkpoint for their tee time 12 minutes later.
That was no problem for Wigmore, who like his playing partners was simply happy to have the chance to play again.
“Aw, it’s great,” he said. “It’s a little overdue with how nice the weather has been, but that’s how it has to be with what’s going on.”
The holding pattern was one of a myriad of restrictions and changes in place at the course, but any delays came with plenty of understanding of the situation and any hiccups that might happen for the next little while.
“I think [the restrictions] are sensible, they have to be in place for a lot of different things, grocery shopping, pharmacies, life in general,” Wigmore said. “People have been pretty compliant and Moose especially has been outstanding when it comes to COVID, I think we’ve done a pretty good job… So we’re looking forward to it; I rarely have fun golfing but it’s nice to be out here.”
One thing that’s for certain is both courses were wildly busy throughout opening day, right from the opening tee times of 7 a.m. at the Hillcrest and 6 a.m. at the Lynbrook.
Carl Graham was one of the first players off the tee at the latter course and reported smooth sailing through his first round of the season in spite of all the changes on hand.
“It was a little cool at the start, but it was nice to be out and playing,” Graham said shortly after capping the second round of the season played at the Lynbrook.
“It wasn’t too bad, the biggest difference was the raised cup and that’s kind of hard to get used to because it looks so big,” Graham said. “Other than that there weren’t too many changes, the course is in really good shape even if the grass still has to come in a bit, but that’ll come with time.”
Like the Hillcrest, the Lynbrook was plenty busy throughout the morning, with a parking lot packed with vehicles offering a sure sign of the kind of support the course was going to see.
“Oh, it’s about time,” Graham said. “You just have to have patience to get through this and it’s just nice to be out here.”
Both courses are currently taking tee times three days in advance, with no walk-ons allowed on either course.
Tee times at the Hillcrest can be booked online through www.hillcrestgolf.ca and paid for online or by phone, with any payments at the course going through debit machines.
At the Lynbrook, rounds can be booked through Chronogolf.ca or by calling the pro-shop, with payment available over the phone, online and by debit at the course.