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‘Eager to get out:’ Golfers flock to courses under new ‘Safer at Home’ restrictions

Data pix.

KENOSHA -- Golf courses statewide were closed under Gov. Tony Evers' initial "Safer at Home" order. Now, with courses opening up under new guidelines issued with an extension of the order, hundreds of golfers wasted no time getting back in the swing of things.

Spring in Wisconsin isn't the same without the sounds of a tee time.

Tom Hecker

"It's about time. I love it," said golfer Tom Hecker.

The closures -- guided by concerns over spreading COVID-19 -- frustrated golfers who believed they could've played safely.

"We all control our own destiny with health with things like that," Hecker said. "If you take care of yourself you're going to be fine."

Gov. Evers eventually gave golfers a season mulligan, allowing courses to re-open April 24 -- with some restrictions. Carts, putting greens, driving ranges and clubhouses are off-limits. Golfers must maintain six feet of social distancing and walk the course.

Dan Drier

"We have rangers and officials on the course and around the clubhouses to make sure people are abiding by the rules and we can stay open," said Dan Drier, general manager of golf operations with Kenosha County.

The course pro believed a cool morning kept turnout down at Oakwood in Franklin, but just to the south, more than 500 golfers had already hit the links at two Kenosha County courses.

"I'm just happy there is an opportunity to play. I crossed the border," Illinois resident Richard Kennedy said. "We were all eager to get out and play."

Richard Kennedy

By the looks of the parking lot, many took a bit of a road trip just to walk the course. Illinois' stay-at-home order isn't set to expire until May 30. Some golfers, like Kennedy, just couldn't wait -- lured by a spring tee time.

Like most other courses, Petrifying Springs allows golfers to reserve tee times online. Payment is not required until the day of, that way if the weather doesn't cooperate, golfers would not be charged for a round they never played.

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