EUGENE, Ore. -- There’s a lot of recreational sports out there, but few can comply with the social distancing guidelines like golf can. That’s why courses like Shadow Hills Country Club are booked from dawn to dusk.
“Oh it’s like summer crowded. Usually around springtime there aren't as many people out because it’s cold. But now you sometimes have to jockey for a tee time,” said golfer Shari Hoover.
Typically there are about 150 golfers at Shadow Hills. Today, however, there were about 240. So the course is more packed than usual but for many it’s the least of their worries.
“Well there’s a lot worse problems to have than a crowded golf course, let's put it that way,” said golfer Bill Lange. “It’s actually been wonderful that we can get out here, stay safe and play golf.”
It’s not just Shadow Hills. Several other courses around the Willamette Valley are also experiencing the increased levels of activity.
“I’ve definitely noticed the uptick but the big difference is that we are seeing a lot of people who don't typically play golf. A lot of husbands come out with their wives, who wouldn't normally play. Thankfully golf can fit in there and be a safe activity for people."
That includes kids too.
“We’ve seen a lot more families out and kids playing because there’s no school going on,” said Shadow Hills assistant golf professional Colin Inglis. “So families are getting to play outdoors while bonding together, which is awesome.”
“There’s very few things we can do at this point besides hanging out at home and playing golf. So it’s been fun bringing my son out on a regular basis,” said golfer Michael Parks.
There are many physical and mental health benefits to the game, but golf is also a social release. People can ditch Zoom and FaceTime and connect with one another in person from a safe distance.
“This has really been a salvation for my husband and me because it’s an opportunity to golf with our friends we don’t see otherwise,” said golfer Deena Frosaker. “We share what take-outs we’ve been able to go to and good movies we’ve seen. It’s a blessing.”