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Golfers getting social distance at Billings courses

Posted at 9:02 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 02:59:05-04

Life has changed in many ways these days with fear of the COVID-19 virus spreading. Many businesses have shut down as people distance themselves from others.

While gyms have closed and the sports world has ground to a halt, golfers have still been able to tee up in Billings, but with some changes to the game to keep them safe.

For a couple of hours at least, life was kind of back to normal for the golfers on a beautiful Monday afternoon at Peter Yegen Golf Course in Billings.

“It feels great—better than being in the house, that’s for sure,” said Jim Doll, who was walking the course along with his wife, Loretta.

While the course is open, it is making several changes. Golfers are asked to keep a six-foot distance when coming into the pro shop, not congregate, and not touch pins. Range balls and buckets are also being bleached after use and carts sanitized when golfers are finished.

“I think with the wild times we are in, they are sick of being stuck at home. So it’s nice to be able to get them out on the golf course,” said Yegen Head Pro Jared Strickland. “It is easy to social distance yourself out on the golf course—generally people aren’t hitting the ball to the same exact spot. If we can keep them spread out and still offer them a little bit of release and enjoyment during the day.”

A few hours on the course is only a brief respite from what suddenly has become a very bizarre world--- with changes no one could have imagined. Neither Jim or Loretta have been able to see their grandkids recently.

“Both my son in law and daughter are medical, so we want to make sure that they are safe,” said Jim.

Loretta says she is trying to stay positive but admits she is concerned.

“I’m thinking, oh if we abide by what they say and stay away from all the groups and that sort of thing that we will be okay. It’s alarming to me for families and those without income. It’s going to be devastating.”

“Well, we are World War II babies. We have never seen this in our lifetime. It’s going to be a big change. I think there is going to be a lot more change when this over on top of it,” said Jim.

It is fine to exercise and take part in individual sports outside, but people are advised to keep at least a six-foot distance from others. Fortunately, golf is a game that does allow players to keep a safe social distance, but they should still exercise caution and not share any equipment.