While the owners of Yankee Run Golf Course have had to change the way they operate because of government regulations to address the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the fact that the course is open at all has been a boon to business.
“What has promoted everything is the fact that the Pennsylvania courses have closed down,” course General Manager Patti Luchette said April 21. “We are a lot busier now than we ever have been because of that factor, because of the coronavirus and the Ohio courses being able to be open.”
Checking phone numbers of people who register tee times, many are from the 724 and 412 area codes, which means people from as far as Pittsburgh are coming to play, she said.
“They’re so happy to be out and just playing some golf and doing something besides sitting in their house,” Luchette said. “I think, for us, it’s been a blessing. There are so many people from Pennsylvania that have never played this golf course before. They come back (from their rounds) and they said, ‘Oh, my God, this is an amazing golf course. It’s beautiful.’ It’s been really good advertising for us. I’m just hoping that they’re gonna have so much fun here that they’re gonna still come back once the courses get open in P-A.”
promoThe restrictions mean golfers have to be patient. The tee times are further apart, so groups are not as close together. Golf carts go fast, because only family members who live together are allowed to share a cart, but Luchette said more people have been willing to walk the course for exercise. The bar and restaurant in the clubhouse are closed.
“We were allowed to sell prepackaged snacks and beer, pop and water,” Luchette said. “It’s one of those deals where they go to the counter, take it and take it outside. It’s to-go only. They’re not allowed to congregate whatsoever inside the golf course clubhouse. One person is allowed to come into the pro shop at a time, purchase their golf ticket and then go outside.”
Each day is a constant stream of cleaning each cart after every use, cleaning the bathrooms regularly and sanitizing door handles, Luchette said. A few volunteers come in in the afternoon to help out with the cleaning chores.
“We’ve been working on just a minimal crew,” she said. “There is no bar, there is no restaurant. A lot of my people who normally would be here by now are not even starting until May, as long as the governor opens up.”
Leagues and tournaments are not allowed under the government restrictions.
In addition to extraordinary cleaning requirements and restrictions imposed by the government, course operators are slowly working on removing damaged trees and brush caused by the Father’s Day tornado.
“I think they’ve taken care of most all the trees that were really, really damaged on the playing area of the golf course,” Luchette said. “They’ve got that under control and cleaned up and taken out, and it’s seeding grass. It’s that area, which is out of bounds, out of play, but visually it’s so devastating to look at. They hit that little bend on number three, and that’s the big area that was totally devastated that you can see from (Route) 82. That’s gonna take a while. There’s just trees on top of trees on top of trees.”
Logging crews have been in to take out some of the larger trees, and course operators used the proceeds of the Twister Blitzer, last year’s tournament that benefited the course, to buy equipment to remove and process trees and related debris.
“Just love our community,” Luchette said. “When people say something’s wrong with Brookfield, I go crazy because I think, ‘You have no idea what people are like in Brookfield, Ohio, or the surrounding area.’ We’re blessed. We’re blessed.”