Local golf courses adjust to social distancing

Local golf courses adjust to social distancing
Hannibal Country Club golf professional Steve Liter tees off at the first hole on Thursday.
Mike Thomas/Courier-Post
By Mike Thomas
Courier-Post Sports Editor
mthomas@courierpost.com
Posted: Apr. 24, 2020 4:01 pm Updated: Apr. 24, 2020 4:05 pm

HANNIBAL | Local golf courses have adapted to social distancing guidelines and offer residents a way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

Gov. Mike Parson's stay-at-home order allows for golf courses to remain open as long as they maintain social distancing measures.

The Hannibal Country Club has remained open during the shut down, but has made some major changes to how they do business. Their restaurant has switched to curbside pickup only, spring events have been rescheduled and only one person is allowed in a golf cart unless it's immediate family members or spouses.

“When it comes to golf, we are lucky that our governor has stated that golf is one of the things you should be doing,” said Hannibal Country Club employee Danielle Gorder. “We are trying to do it as safely as possible. We sanitize our carts before it goes to one person to another.”

The American Legion Golf Course closed down temporarily when the stay-at-home order was issued, and re-opened their golf course last Saturday.

For now, the American Legion Golf Course will operate with shortened hours. They will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. During weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekends. The American Legion itself remains closed.

“We have been pretty steady this week,” said American Legion clubhouse attendant Deanine Haynes. “We would probably normally be pretty busy this week because of the nice weather.”

The Hannibal Country Club has seen several more golfers than what is normal this time of year.

“It's one of the few things to do,” Gorder said. “We've actually seen more rounds being played than what would be typical for this group. We also hosted Quincy Country Club and Spring Lake Country Club groups because we partnered with them.”

Gorder said the Hannibal Country Club has been in consultation with the local health department to make sure their golf course in compliant with health guidelines.

“We tell people before they go out and they have signs about social distancing,” Gorder said. “We let them know to stay six feet apart, and they normally go out in a group of three or four, so it's usually not too big of an issue.”

For groups of friends, both the Hannibal Country Club and the American Legion Golf Course has been issuing one golf cart per person.

Despite the changes made, Haynes said American Legion Golf Course members have been supportive of the temporary rules in place.

“As far as people I've talked to, people are excited,” Haynes said. “Especially some of members who don't have carts. They weren't really able to come out and play (unless) they walked. They were excited to come out and rent a cart.”

Gorder said routine maintenance at the Hannibal Country Club has remained the same during this time.

“We have certain projects at this time of year that need to be accomplished,” Gorder said. “So golf is still happening, and we want to make sure that the course is in good shape.”

One downside for the Hannibal Country Club is a loss of revenue due to the postponement of spring events and the restaurant not running to full capacity. They have tentatively rescheduled some events for June and later into the summer.

“The club as a whole is a 501c7 (social and recreational organization), so we are not eligible for the small business loans that other businesses in town are eligible for,” Gorder said. “That has kind of made things quite a bit more difficult.”

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