Golf Season Tees Off in Mt. Washington Valley
By Kathy Bennett
With temps in the 40s and winds steady at 18 miles per hour, May 12th was a brisk but sunny first day on the links for me this year. But after 7+ weeks of COVID isolation, we were game for anything. So we bundled up and headed south to Indian Mound Golf Club for a first round of 2020.
May 11 marked the first day the golf courses were allowed to open under the state of NH's reopening plan, welcoming NH residents and club members. Jonathan Rivers, owner of Indian Mound Golf Club, was on top of the guidelines and offered guests many safety options. A stand with face masks was on the walkway from the parking lot - guests were asked to wear then in the area in and around the pro shop but not necessarily out on the course.
Jonathan shared that they are working towards offering pro shop sales by phone in advance. Just call ahead and they can offer things like gloves and balls and have them ready for you when you arrive for your tee time. While their rest rooms are open and heavily sanitized, they are trying to limit traffic in the building. There was ample hand sanitizer on the counter in the pro shop. And to avoid having too many hands removing golf balls from the hole, a special device facilitates ball removal with a flip of a putter. Clever!
When we arrived, we were greeted outside and the cart was waiting for us at the first tee. A couple of workers were busily cleaning carts as they came in from use, and the scent of sanitizer was in the air.
In typical Indian Mound fashion, the course was in remarkable shape. Clearly Jonathan and his team have been working hard on the greens in preparation for this opening week. While some greens still had evidence of aeration marks, everything was imminently playable - especially considering we had snow on the ground as recently as last week. Spring flowers were in bloom and were a welcome sight for these sore eyes too.
After seven months off the course, I was pleasantly surprised to have not forgotten how to swing a club. Several strong drives and a few satisfying putts are all it takes to make you crave the game more. The bright sun warmed things up as the afternoon wore on despite the winds. It was pleasant to see others enjoying the game ... from a distance of course. My husband and I shared a cart. Others were walking the course. One foursome darted about, each player in an individual cart, an option the Mound offers its players now to encourage social distancing.
River's Edge Grille & Tavern was not yet open but Jonathan said they are preparing for outdoor dining when it is allowed to reopen on May 18th. They are lucky to have a large outdoor patio and grill which no doubt will serve them well this strange season. They will also have their beverage carts running weekends.
With the ease of social distancing, the lure of burgers cooking outside, drinks in a golf cart and the great outdoors ... might 2020 be the Summer of Golf? It's hard to imagine a better way to get back at it while still helping us all stay safe and separate. I know I'll be back for more. I'll be the one in the face mask.
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