Photo by Joe Boyle
Joe Quinn hits a drive on the first hole Friday afternoon at the Stony Creek Golf Course in Oak Lawn. Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared this past Friday golf courses could open up in Illinois under restrictions due to COVID-19.
By Joe Boyle
Local golfers were eager to to tee up after Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during a press briefing last Thursday that beginning May 1 through May 30 courses will open but with modifications.
Oak Lawn residents Angel Cardenas and Jesus Rodriguez said if felt good to get out and golf Friday morning at the Stony Creek Golf Course, 5850 W. 103rd St., Oak Lawn.
"It was a little wet this morning but it cleared up as the day went on," said Cardenas after 18 holes of golf. "We weren't supposed to use carts. A couple of seniors who weren't able to to walk the course were allowed to use carts. But overall, this was OK. It's just good to get out there. It took us about five hours but it was good."
Both Cardenas said the course was not crowded and there was about a 30-minute wait between golfers. No more than two could golf at any one time to adhere to restrictions. The clubhouse and driving range were not open.
"But everyone was following the rules," Cardenas pointed out. "Everyone was being respectful."
Cardenas said he has played a lot of golf at Stony Creek the past 10 years. He admitted that it was different today. The restrictions probably kept the crowd down on the first day, he said.
"But it's better to have less than nothing at all," Cardenas added.
Joe Quinn, a resident of Chicago's Mount Greenwood, went out by himself to tee up at the first hole later that afternoon at Stony Creek. Quinn said he volunteers occasionally at Stony Creek and was eager to get out and play some golf.
Quinn had his doubts of the severity of the pandemic, mentioning that golf has been played in Indiana.
"They have been playing golf at Palmira and it was full just lately," said Quinn, referring to Palmira Golf and Country Club in St. John, Ind. that allows for foursomes and spreading tee times every 15 minutes. "It was mostly people from Illinois there. So, I don't know."
Quinn waited as two other golfers moved to the second hole. He then teed off and was pleased with his shot.
"This is the flu," Quinn said about the coronavirus. "The way I look at it, I stay away from people who are sick. That's what I'm going to do today."
The crowds were not large on Friday but business was also reported steady at the Hickory Hills Country Club, 8201 W. 95th St., and Water's Edge Golf Club, 7205 W. 115th St., Worth. Like other golf courses, clubhouses and restaurants were closed.
Two golfers at Water's Edge said there were few golfers on Friday.
"We had plenty of room but we saw golfers out there," said one golfer, who preferred not to disclose his name. "It took us about four hours to golf today. But it was pretty good for the first day."
Golfers were pleased to get out Friday at the Palos Hills Municipal Golf Course, 7301 W. 105th St.
Marty Farnan, manager of the pro shop at the nine-hole Palos Hills course, said it was good to see people out on Friday.
"It was kind of slow yesterday but it was steady," Farnan said on Saturday afternoon. "The people were pretty understanding. It's pretty much like that today (Saturday). It has been slow but it began to pick up in the afternoon."
He had to inform golfers on several occasions they would have to wait. Farnan said that people understood.
"We can just have about eight people an hour," he said. "Hey, it's better than nothing. At least we are open. We will just have to see what happens in the next couple of weeks. Even the experts don't know for sure."
Farnan said a couple of people approached him on Friday with no golf clubs.
"I told them they would have to wait and then they told me they just wanted to walk the course," Farnan said. "They just wanted to go out and take a walk."
At Silver Lake Country Club, 14700 S. 82nd Ave., Orland Park, the response was brisk with many golfers on the 18-hole course on Friday.
"It was really good," said Peyton Anderson, who is employed in the golf shop. "Everyone paid in advance. We did allow for a couple of seniors to use golf carts, but everyone else had to walk the course. It was gorgeous all weekend."
Anderson, who has been employed at Silver Lake for four years, said the demand has been great to get on the course. Bookings are six days in advance to play. She said that no more than two golfers can play at one time and there is at least a 30-minute wait.
"I love working here and being outdoors," Anderson said. "Everything has been going well. We could have even been doing better but we do have restrictions. But beggars can't be choosers. So far, it is a good start."
The Palos Country Club, 13100 Southwest Highway, Orland Park, has also gotten off to a good start at the 18-hole course. An employee who preferred to remain anonymous said the response has been good and that golfers, also restricted to two at a time, have a 15-minute wait.
"We definitely had an early crowd and most were done by later in the day," said the employee about the first day. "A couple of seniors were allowed to use golf carts but everyone else walked the course. Overall, It was good day."