WYOMING, Mich — Many industries are struggling during this Pandemic, but golf isn’t one of them.
The sport has seen a huge boost as people look for more activities to do outside.
Maple Hill Golf Course in Wyoming has been packed this Labor Day weekend, but owners aren’t surprised by that. They said that they’ve seen a major bump in both rounds played and pro-shop sales this year.
“It’s got our staff going crazy just trying to keep up,” said Part-Owner of Maple Hill Golf Course, Andy Kitchen.
He said that their phones been ringing non-stop for the past couple months.
“When golf started with being able to walk, we sold out of every pull cart and push cart we had,” Kitchen said.
He told FOX 17 that after weeks of uncertainty this Spring, things have really taken off.
“I could see it starting to unfold and then we were like ‘Geez, the snowball is going downhill real fast’ and then before you know it it’s like every day has just been busy,” Kitchen said.
That is par for the course industry wide right now. According to the National Golf Foundation, rounds played across the country in July were up 20%. That’s about 10 million more rounds played than July, 2019.
Kitchen said, “It’s just something that everybody can do and it’s fun. I mean, even things like the driving range, if people are a little intimidated to get on the course, they can go hit balls and just kind of having that flexibility in terms of different ways to golf and with different people.”
It’s success he knows other industries aren’t seeing.
“Golf has been very fortunate and I almost feel bad, because I know some of the gym owners and restaurants have just been on the other end of all that,” Kitchen said.
Maple Hill and the industry as a whole said that they’re seeing a lot of newcomers to the sport and a big increase in Junior golfers.
Sam Myers, a boy from the Grand Rapids area said that he’s playing sometimes five times a week.
His friend, Crew Christian said he started playing more golf when his school’s baseball season got cancelled and bowling alleys shut down.
He said, “It’s really great to just be out in nature, be outside and get off your phone, because I know a lot of teenagers just like to be inside a lot, I do too, but it’s nice to come outside and play nine holes.”
Kitchen said the sport is also bringing people together in a new way.
“We are finding that with our golf course seeing a lot of new faces, families, husbands and wives maybe they didn’t golf, but now it’s bringing everyone together golfing,” he said.
Kitchen is hopeful all those new faces stick around and make golf something they play for life.
“It no signs of slowing down and that’s good with us,” he said.
Maple Hill requires masks inside their pro shop and while using any indoor facilities. The shop is also available online.
They are sanitizing golf carts, allowing people to not share carts if they want to have their own, and they’ve put foam in the hole, so people don’t have to reach too far in to retrieve their ball.
Maple Hill is open-year round, even during the winter as long as there’s not too much snow, so owners are thinking this upward trend will hold on for a while.