December 25, 2020 at 09:20 AM
By Doug E
Doug EUrbana, MD
I'm curious to hear from Florida golfers on this. Most years, I visit my family who have all lived in the Sarasota area since the early 90s. Normally one visit is for a week either at Thanksgiving or Christmas, and the other visit is for a couple weeks in February. Multiple rounds of golf are always part of those trips. However, this year, I have not been down there at all due to the the recommendations for travel, group get-togethers and social distancing. My mom is over 90 so I'm taking no chances with her.
As you Florida guys know, golf is expensive and prime tee times are hard to come by most everywhere in winter. The Snowbirds overrun nearly every track as well as everything else in Florida, especially the roads. Is this year any different? Are there less people clogging up the courses because less people are traveling to FL, or is it the contrary? If it's worse, I am almost glad I'm not down there this year (except for missing the visit with Mom).
Here in Maryland (and so many other areas around the country) the increase in golfers and rounds played since returning from the 7-week, mandatory Covid shutdown has been overwhelmingly high. Tee sheets have been full 7 days a week until an hour and a half before dark. Pace of play is even slower than normal, and golf etiquette seems nearly non-existent.
My home course (I've been a full member there for years) is an upscale, pricey, daily-fee club with a very high course rating and slope. Not a place recommended for new golfers. Before the pandemic they were averaging 200+ rounds on good weekend days and about 100 rounds on midweek days. This year, since the return from the shutdown in May, they averaged over 250 rounds on weekends and 200 midweek rounds (unless the weather was bad). By August they had already done more rounds than they did in all of their previous best year ever, 2019. And from what I have seen at other area courses, they are all packed solid too. This year has been like winter golf in Florida all over this area, but we don't have a "Snowbird" population. It's never been like this before.
I suppose there's still a chance I may be able to get down there late Feb-early March should we be fortunate enough to get Covid under control quickly. I'll take my clubs anyway, but should I expect to play much? I usually book afternoon times when the rate is a few bucks lower, but if it's anything like it's been here, I'm afraid there will be no tee times available early enough to allow for a full 18?
Paul CBeech Mountain, NC
Frank PPort St. Lucie, FL
Brock LFort Myers, FL
peter gNH or FL
Chuck ZMt Pleasant, SC
Norman TOrlando, FL
tony kbradenton, FL
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