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Sylvan Hills gets league up and running

HOLLIDAYSBURG — At least one local golf course is doing all it can to get back to as close to normal as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.

While most courses have reopened, not many have restarted league play and special events.

That isn’t the case at Sylvan Hills, where the club’s members just enjoyed their third week of the season.

Mike Luther was part of a foursome that finished their nine-hole round just before nightfall Thursday evening.

“It’s good to be back out playing. Some of them I don’t miss,” said a laughing Luther. “It’s just been really good to get back out and play. We have all been chomping at the bit for a long time.”

Sylvan Hills, which also has between 20 and 30 women that play each Tuesday morning in events throughout the season, has made some adjustments to make everything work.

“With the policy of one person per cart and 15-minute tee times, we just weren’t able to run the league in one night like we used to,” said Ed Partner, who has run the men’s league since it was started 11 years ago. “We used to run it from 4:30 until 6:10 every Thursday with 10-minute tee times. We had to go to 15-minute tee times, and I don’t think Sylvan has enough carts to handle one-per-person. So, we switched to two nights with five teams Wednesday night and six teams Thursday night.”

Luther said there are some advantages to the new rules.

“It’s nice playing with our own carts,” Luther said. “We actually get around a lot quicker than we normally would.”

The men’s league, which has 44 people in it this season, has had to deal with scheduling challenges which Partner said has made things more difficult, but overall, the group of golfers are just thrilled to be back on the course.

“I sent texts out to the people playing and got so many positive responses,” Partner said. “People were so happy. There’s no doubt people were anxious to get back out there. You see the smiles on these guys’ faces and you know what this does for them.”

Still, Partner lamented that even getting back to league play doesn’t mean this season is like any other before it.

“It’s different this year, because in the past, quite a few of the guys would go out on the deck out back after their round,” Partner said. “We’d sit around and have a few drinks and talk and have fun. It wasn’t the whole league, but there were 10 to 20 of us that would sit out there. So, we are missing that camaraderie from that. I’m praying the COVID stuff ends soon and we can get back to normal.”

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