Nick Hedrick | firstname.lastname@example.org
More golfers are teeing off at the Crawfordsville Municipal Golf Course this year as players look for socially-distant ways to spend time outdoors.
On a humid Friday afternoon, Wabash College students were lined up at the putting green while small groups of golfers played their way through the course.
“If we were shut down [at work], I’d definitely be out here more,” said Chad McKinney, who stood on Hole 18 Friday afternoon during a round with friends.
General manager Trent Altieri said the course has seen a surge in first-time golfers and increased traffic from non-regular visitors. Membership levels have remained steady as regular players line up their shots next to people discovering the sport as a new hobby.
“They’re just looking for stuff to do to keep them entertained and the golf course has been definitely one of those things that they’re doing,” Altieri said.
The course, managed by Billy Casper Golf, brought in about $67,000 in revenue last month, up $17,000 from July 2019, according to numbers presented to the Crawfordsville Park Board.
The rush in tee-times, which players are asked to book in advance, reflects a nationwide trend.
Golfers played 7 to 8 million more rounds in June compared to the same period last year, according to Golf Datatech, which tracks industry statistics. That translates to an additional $400 million in operational revenue for courses.
Play was also up the month before after more than half of U.S. golf courses were closed in late March through April, according to the National Golf Foundation.
Crawfordsville’s course reopened in late April with restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Outings slated for the spring through early summer were either canceled or rescheduled for later in the year, including the one sponsored by Nucor Steel.
“We really didn’t lose too many big outings. The ones that were getting canceled were our smaller ones,” Altieri said.
The course is also boosting its golf cart fleet by replacing older vehicles and adding nine more, bringing the total number of carts to 60. During larger events, the course will no longer have to rent carts from another company, saving about $2,000 in rental fees.