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Courses ready to go green come Friday

All golfers hope to hit the green.

Friday, most of the area’s courses will reach it as Gov. Tom Wolf transitions Blair, Cambria and Bedford County to the green phase of Pennsylvania’s plan for reopening.

That means golf courses like Park Hills, Sinking Valley and the Summit among many others will be closer to functioning as normal as their peak seasons begin.

“We’ll be able to start holding events again. As far as food services though, we still have to figure out a plan so not everyone is coming in at the same time,” Park Hills PGA Associate Professional Chad Krawczyk said. “Going to the green phase will allow us to have those events once we get that straightened out.”

Park Hills began its league play in the yellow phase, and other courses like Sinking Valley have made adjustments since the courses were allowed to reopen in early May.

“We started putting two people in a cart last Friday, and everything else has been pretty standard other than the restaurant,” Sinking Valley head professional Troy Monahan said. “We’re eligible to have outings now with 250 people or less, but most of those outings were already moved to August or September.”

Golf courses all across the area hold outings, often scrambles, that serve as fundraisers for many organizations, but Sinking Valley won’t be alone in having an August packed with them thanks to postponements due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Most of our June and July events have been rescheduled for later in the year with the anticipation of not being able to get out there,” Krawczyk said. “So, we’re going to get really busy in August.”

The Summit Country Club and head professional Randy Repko have been looking forward to Friday for more than a month.

“We’re planning on going forward from Friday on and opening our leagues up along with having some outside outings,” Repko said. “A few have been canceled already, but for the ones that didn’t, we’re going to try and go forward with our existing schedule and have as many events as we can.

“We may have to make adjustments with some of the outings as far as outside seating for eating. We’re looking forward to salvaging as much of this season as possible.”

The courses are still planning their major best ball and match play events and have actually been experiencing more business than usual from more casual golfers.

“It’s crazy busy, and everyone is happy to be out,” Monahan said. “The weather has been good, and getting two people in a cart has helped getting more people out. I think this year has been busier than most years, because there are a lot of people laid off work. They have more time to be out here, and it has been busier than typical.”

Repko appreciates that his workplace has been allowed to be open during a time where many others have been forced to stay closed.

“We have just been so happy to be open,” Repko said. “A lot of businesses didn’t get to open as early as we did. Overall, it has gone well. The weekends have been busy, and we welcome that. The people have been receptive to the guidelines and have been following them. We have had no issues, and it has worked out well.”

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