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Don't put away those clubs just yet, two area courses reopening

'Saturday and Sunday are sold out already and w’ere almost sold out for Friday and Thursday,' says Orr Lake Golf Club official
orr lake
Orr Lake Golf Club will reopen today until Sunday.

Being able to hit the links in November likely has local golfers smiling.

While residents were heading to area ski hills around this time last year, some golf courses are reopening for the weekend to allow golfers one last chance to get their fix before huge piles of snow cover the fairways.

“We closed on the 23rd of October and then basically, we saw the four (sunny) days, I guess it’s kind of a week, so we decided to reopen for four days,” Orr Lake Golf Club’s Jason Harris said, referring to the warm temperatures expected to last into next week.

“It’s not a matter of just opening up the doors as there’s a bunch of stuff to get ready again.”

To make it happen, Orr Lake is offering modified tee times and a split start for golfers.

“So some people start in the front, some people start in the back and then they cross over,” Harris said, noting carts are allowed, but must stay on the marked pathways since the roofs have already been taken off, a precaution taken every year to ensure roofs don't collapse under the weight of heavy snowfalls.

“Saturday and Sunday are sold out already and w’ere almost sold out for Friday and Thursday.”

Harris said they weren’t expecting a course reopening to figure into their plans. The story's similar at another local course.

Balm Beach Golf Club had also closed for the season, but will now reopen for four days, starting Friday.

Midland Golf and Country Club remains closed for the season while nearby Brooklea Golf & Country Club earlier announced that October 25 would be its last day.

At Balm Beach, the course will be open Friday to Monday with tee times required and golfers walking the course since power carts will not be permitted.

“We had everything closed up, roofs off the carts, vertidrained the greens, brought all the accessories in off the course and now the weather is going to get beautiful for a few days,” said a posting on the course's Facebook page, noting that they’ll also be operating a little differently than they did during the regular season.

“We don't have staff available to wash and sanitize golf carts throughout the day so we will be limiting tee times."

Harris said golfers will notice some other differences besides no roofs on their carts. Washrooms will be open in the clubhouse between 10am and 4pm, but food and drinks won’t be available, he said, noting the course will also be without tee markers, yardage markers and tee signs.

All in all, both Harris and Midland Golf and Country Club general manager Ian Kirkpatrick said it was a good season.

“It was very busy,” Kirkpatrick said, adding the club had to adjust its business model due to COVID-19 by establishing a number of protocols to ensure safety remained of paramount concern.

While the Midland club closed for a day after a member, who lives in Tiny Township, tested positive for the virus, Kirkpatrick said everything ran smoothly with no other positive tests throughout the season.

“Now, we’re getting ready for the winter and getting ready for the next season," he said.

Harris said the only drawback was finding staff since some employees didn’t return, but opted instead to draw CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit).

“We had an excellent season,” he said. “It was actually a little bit ridiculous to be honest, probably our best season ever.

“And it was our most difficult season at the same time because we couldn't get staff. We had to modify everything that we were doing and run it differently and at the same time, we didn't have the staff to do it.”


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Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country’s most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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