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One Stanly industry sees increase despite COVID-19 precautions

For all the negative economic effects coronavirus and isolation have produced, one industry has had an upswing in interest.

Golf courses have continued to stay open in Stanly and the surrounding counties and have not yet closed, even with some shelter at home orders.

Dave VanDeventer, head golf professional at Piney Point Golf Club in Norwood, reports an increase of 10 to 20 percent during the week of golfers on the course.

“Ironically, (the COVID-19 situation) has increased our business. It’s been very busy and we are happy about that,” VanDeventer said.

What’s toughest at the moment is social distancing or the idea of having people about six feet apart at all times. With golf carts, people for the most part are riding with friends or family, but not in every case.

“The golf itself is pretty safe. For the most part, you’re not touching someone and you’re staying six feet from them,” VanDeventer said.

He added being outside as well has been good for folks staying indoors mostly to be able to get out and enjoy a sunny day.

VanDeventer said the good weather and the rain letting up has helped business as well. Much of the increases have come in the later afternoons from 2 p.m. to closing, he added.

Golf courses like Piney Point have invoked a number of restrictions to avoid multiple people touching objects repeatedly, so as not to spread anything around.

Piney Point’s staff have turned the cups on all 18 holes up to allow a ball to be holed but not as deeply. Golfers will be able to get their golf ball out without having to touch the cup. Flagsticks are not to be removed by golfers as well.

Bunkers are now called no-play zones, with golfers allowed to take a free drop no closer to the hole. Sand rakes have also been taken off the course.

The carts themselves are being wiped down with sanitizer and the sand bottles have been removed from them.

“We’re trying to prevent hands from touching items,” VanDeventer said.

Golfers requesting to ride solo in the two-player carts have increased, and VanDeventer said the club has done its best to honor those requests. However, with increased volume, carts may not be available. Golfers are asked to call the pro shop to see if their tee times will allow them a cart by themselves.

With warmer temperatures and sunny skies, golfers may need more hydration, but the water coolers have been removed. Also, a cooler with ice and a pitcher of water which stays in the snack bar is off limits to golfers.

The snack bar itself is open for take-out orders only and the tables outside the snack bar have been put away. The bar area is also closed.

VanDeventer noted the snack bar is still one of the few places in Norwood still open for breakfast take-out orders with the remodeling of the Bojangles and other closings.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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