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Course Owners, Lawmakers Lobby To Open Golf Courses During COVID-19 Outbreak

Relatively good weather spring weather means Chip Bromann would love to open his golf course, Pinewood County Club in Harshaw, earlier than the last few years.

But Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer-At-Home order prohibits that.

However, some course owners and lawmakers think playing golf is a perfect way to get outside while keeping physical distance from others.

“The idea is to get out and get some fresh air.  Golf provides that social distancing by nature.  Everybody’s outside anyway, but you’re always pretty far apart.  Whatever we can to do expedite that and help that, we’re going to try and do,” Bromann said.

Bromann has a plan, if allowed to open.

There would be no ball washers, soda machines, portable toilets, or anything to be touched on the course.

Cups would be raised above the level of the green.

“If you’re on the green and you’re putting, as soon as your ball hits that cup, you’re done.  You can pick up your ball and you move on,” Bromann said.  “You don’t have to take your ball out of the cup, you don’t have to touch the flagstick.”

Republican State Rep. Jon Plumer understands Evers’ difficult spot in managing the virus.

“God bless him,” Plumer said.  “I know this has got to be a tough situation to make decisions on.”

But Plumer wrote Evers a letter, asking him to allow golf courses to open.

“Golf courses, and playing a round of golf, is probably one of the best places to get out and get some exercise and still practice social distancing,” he said.

In Harshaw, Bromann hopes to give people that opportunity.  He also hopes to open to stay sound financially.

“We’ll be okay in April, but what happens if this goes into May?  Now we need to have some serious conversations,” Bromann said.

Bromann said he knows opening could be a “double-edged sword.”

He wants people to be able to play golf, but doesn’t want to become of hotspot of the virus.

Ben worked as the Special Topics Correspondent at WXPR from September 2019 until November 2021. He now contributes occasionally to WXPR. During his full-time employment, his main focus was reporting on environment and natural resources issues in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as part of The Stream, a weekly series.
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