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Golf’s spike in popularity during the pandemic continues into 2021

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 5:50 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - After some brief closures last year, golf courses are being recognized as a silver lining on the dark cloud that is the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Fridays were typically a quiet day and now we’re having tee times on Fridays and Saturdays sell out just as fast,” said PGA Golf Professional Jim Buyze.

He says Friday is the new Saturday at Mill Run and Wild Ridge Golf Courses in Eau Claire.

“People are used to coming out without tee times and not having a lot of people around,” Buyze said.

That’s rarely the case anymore, even as courses opened three weeks earlier than usual, there’s a high demand for time spent out on the links.

“I think people are finding themselves with a little extra time for recreation by working from home and they’re taking advantage of that with golf,” said Buyze.

Jerry Tabaka of Eau Claire says he comes out a few times per week and has noticed a difference.

“Yes! Tee times are at a premium compared to what it was two to three years ago. You could just walk out, that’s not the case anymore,” Tabaka said.

Even though it may require a bit more strategy to get a round in, Tabaka says he’s glad to see this sport getting more interest, from all ages.

“I love that more people are golfing and getting outside... I see people that are little little munchkins out here to people my age and older out here and enjoying it,” said Tabaka.

While the pandemic prompted the sport’s spike in popularity, Buyze hopes the hype sticks around. He says the course has a way of teaching lessons that last a lifetime.

“It teaches you to be responsible for the situation you create with the decisions you make ... it teaches you perseverance and that carries on into life,” said Buyze.

For those who are new to swinging the sticks, maybe looking for a quieter and more affordable time to play, Buyze recommends morning tee times, on a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday.

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