While the snow has mostly been gone for weeks and the temperatures have been well above average since late February, the TS&M Woodlawn Golf Course isn’t rushing to have its 18 holes open.
The golf course has been busy getting ready for the season. Their driving range has been open for golfers to get some practice swings in before the start of the season, while their clubhouse has been open Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Amanda Minchin, the head pro and general manager at the golf course, said the demand has been there for the restaurant to be open, with lunchtime being the busiest, and once the course is open, the clubhouse will be open seven days a week.
The driving range has been busy as well, despite some unpredictable weather conditions in late March, and it was busy during the Easter long weekend due to the beautiful weather conditions.
“Lots of people have been out there,” said Minchin.
Woodlawn announced in a Facebook post Wednesday afternoon that it would open for the season on April 15.
“A little bit of water and some rains would help a great deal,” said Minchin.
The wind is also a factor. If it’s really windy, the course dries out faster, and it becomes tough to remove tarps.
The course handled the winter pretty well.
“Bob Currie, the superintendent, he’s happy right now,” said Minchin. “Of course, once you start pulling back tarps, you get a clearer picture. He’s happy with where things are right now. It was a bit of an odd winter. We didn’t have a lot of snow. We had some freezing rains in December that can sometimes cause havoc, but it looks like we lucked out there.”
The wind storm in January didn’t cause much damage, either, with just a couple of small trees down.
COVID-19 restrictions for golf courses remain the same from when the course closed for the season in October.
“Right now there’s nothing in the public health order that says we can’t (open),” said Minchin. “Obviously we have to abide by all of the other rules that are in place, with social distancing and masks inside our clubhouse.”
The golf course, driving range, restaurant and pro shop are all following the restrictions set out for them.
“Unless the government comes out here and changes anything, we’re just operating on the golf side as we were in October. Obviously the restaurant guidelines changed since we closed in October, with (going from) six at a table (to four), but that’s basically the big change there.”
The golf industry lobbying group, which Minchin is a part of, had good discussions with the province’s business response team prior to the recent surge in COVID-19 variant cases in Regina.
Woodlawn’s driving range was the first in the province to open. Other courses in the province have already talked about opening.
“Because we haven’t had snow on the ground for so long, it seems like things should be open, but you have to remember it is still very early in the Saskatchewan golf season,” said Minchin.
Woodlawn still won’t be allowed to have shotgun starts to begin the season, which will affect their operations, but they’re looking forward to having men’s nights, women’s nights and getting back into the routine of some of the events they offer throughout the year.
There’s a demand for golf, she said, and Woodlawn is expecting a very busy year.