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Golf in Wisconsin makes a comeback during the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 6:41 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 19:41:24-05

You hear it a lot: 2020 was the worst year. But not for everyone. Golf, and the Wisconsin PGA, made a quick pivot, resulting in one of their best years ever.

Back in April, golf was shut down. Then things changed.

"It was quite a story," Executive Director of the Wisconsin Section of the PGA of America Joe Stadler says. "We were shut down like everybody, back in March and thought wow, are we ever going to get open? And thankfully health departments and government officials decided at the end of April to get us back open and it's been a banner year."

"Back in April, we had no idea when we were going to open," PGA Head Golf Professional at Oakwood Park Andy Gieryn says. "That was kind of the worst of the pandemic. We probably lost about 3 to 4 weeks in the spring. We gained it all back, and then some."

It became one of the great success stories to get people outside and going in 2020.

"I think Currie was up 40 percent, compared to last year," Milwaukee County SuperJon Canavan says. "I think as a system, Milwaukee County was up around 35 percent as a whole. I'm not going to lie to you, in April I was nervous. I didn't know what to expect. We were all kind of you know, anticipating the worst, and just came out for the best. It really turned out just to be great summertime sport where people could be outside and enjoy our beautiful summer."

"New players, returning players. I think first it was the returning players," Stadler says. "It was really across the board. All groups, women. So we're hoping that we can do what we can, to keep them involved in the game."

Changes were necessary.

"And I don't miss ball washers, I'm gonna vote on never putting them back out," Canavan says.

But the story just keeps going.

Lance Allan of TMJ4 Sports asked if there are some diehards out today, Dec. 4.

"This is amazing," Stadler says. "Last year, I'm not sure anyone played a round after Nov. 1. And this year, there are 25 cars in the lot here at Currie. So it's great to see."

To the credit of golf professionals, the increased number of golfers and rounds did not result in slower play. And that's a positive change, trust me on that.

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