Nova Scotia golf courses report banner year despite pandemic
SYDNEY, N.S. -- Despite a global pandemic, golf courses in Nova Scotia are reporting a record number of people playing the game this year.
Tee-times were hard to come by and some courses say COVID-19 has created a comeback for a once-struggling sport.
Many golf courses have closed for the season, but looking back, it was a banner year for most.
"We probably set a record for the number of rounds we did this year," said Donnie Rowe, the general manager at Lingan Golf Course in Sydney. "Normally we're a very busy golf course anyway, but this year it seemed even busier."
He says in April, a lot of courses were left in limbo, and despite a late start, golf was a game COVID-19 could not put in the rough.
"The sport itself lends to social distancing," Rowe says. "We're on 144 acres of property. It's pretty easy to stay six feet apart from everybody. The golf season in particular was outstanding."
For resorts like Highland Links in Ingonish, the game allowed them to stay open.
Money lost to cancelled weddings, and other events was made up by the crowds teeing off.
"People from HRM, people from other provinces within the Maritime bubble, who normally couldn't get a room on a weekend due to weddings on the resort side of the property, were able to get away and come play some golf with us," said Highland Links general manager Kevin Hurd.
Mainland Nova Scotia courses also set records. Penn Hills nearly doubled the number of rounds usually played during the season.
Back at Lingan, Rowe says COVID-19 has helped grow the game, one he says was on the decline before the pandemic.
"Especially parents with younger kids who usually would be playing soccer, or baseball," Rowe said. "When that wasn't available, they started playing golf."
And while Lingan is closed for the season, some courses in our region continue to cash in on mild weather that's driving players to the greens.