Despite the short notice golf courses had before being allowed to open despite the current ongoing pandemic, Purple Hawk Country Club of Cambridge and Bulrush Golf Club of Rush City were among the many courses to open April 18 and 19.
“It was such a relief when we learned that golf was allowed to open up. It was an abrupt decision. I believe it was first reported on WCCO radio in the morning of the 17, and by 11 a.m. we learned that we would be allowed to open at 5 a.m. Saturday morning,” said Matt Grell, PGA Golf Professional with Purple Hawk County Club. “Weather is a huge factor on (when) we are allowed to open for the year, and also when we shut down for the winter. An average date of opening is April 15. We were able to open on April 18 this year, so even though we all have been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it really didn’t delay our start to the season.”
“The telephones in our Pro Shop rang constantly for five hours straight once the news was out, with people excited to finally get out for some recreational golf,” added Grell.
For Bulrush Golf Club general manager Mike Olson, there was also excitement over reopening, but with such short notice the process was quick.
“We were excited to open. I just wish we had more than 24 hours to alert customers and bring back staff,” Olson said. “We closed on March 17, but continued to offer take-out food. We reopened the golf course and driving range only on April 19, and continue offering take-out. I have three full-time employees, including myself, that continued to work during the closure. At full capacity, Bulrush employs around 20 employees.”
Opened to golfers, with precautions
“At Purple Hawk we are not taking the pandemic lightly. We want to offer our customers a safe and healthy environment when they arrive at the club. We have our guidelines posted on signs through out the premises. They are also posted on our website: www.purplehawk.com,” Grell said. “All golfers are asked to please read our guidelines before they arrive at Purple Hawk. That way they have an idea of what they can expect when they come out to Purple Hawk. Like everything else, these guidelines could change daily, so we make sure to update them as needed.”
For Bulrush, making adjustments to their normal golf experience has also become the new normal.
“The course is fully open except for our patio area and inside facilities,” Olson said. “We can only allow one person per cart unless you live at the same residence; no touching the flag sticks; we have removed anything you can touch on the course, bunker rakes, benches, and we sanitize every cart before it goes out, and anything around the facility that customers can touch, every hour on the day.”
“Everyone is just happy to be outside. Most are very understanding of the new regulations that we have implemented,” Olson added.
A bit of golf course history
Purple Hawk Country Club was established in 1969, and just celebrated 50 years in 2019.
“Purple Hawk is an 18-hole golf course, located 3.5 miles north of Cambridge on Highway 65. Purple Hawk is open to the public, which means you do not need to be a member to play,” Grell said. “We also have a large driving range where golfers can practice their game, warm up before their tee time, or take golf lessons.”
Golf lessons are provided by Grell, who is a PGA golf professional with extensive experience, providing instruction to both new golfers as well as experienced golfers looking to sharpen their skills.
“Other practice facilities include a short game area to work on chipping and bunker play, and lastly we have a large putting green where anyone is allowed to come out and practice putting. When golfing at Purple Hawk you have the option of playing 9 or 18 holes. We also have power carts for those that prefer to take a cart for their round of golf,” Grell said.
The course averages between 16,000 to 22,000 golfers annually depending on weather during the season, according to Grell.
Bulrush was built in 2001 and has options available for golfers of all experience levels.
“We are an 18-hole championship course with four different sets of tees to play from, ranging from almost 7,000 yards down to 5,300 yards depending on your abilities,” Olson said. “Bulrush has everything from our driving range, full bar and restaurant and golf simulators to go along with our beautiful course.”
A bit of encouragement
“With all of us stuck at home this last month, it is important that we all get outside and clear our mind of everything that’s going on. I can’t think of a better recreational sport to play, where you can be outside in a very safe environment, than golf. Purple Hawk offers you an 18-hole golf course on roughly 70 acres of land,” Grell said. “We are very serious about safety at our club, and we can guarantee you that we will make sure we do everything we can to make you feel comfortable while you enjoy your round of golf here at Purple Hawk.”
Olson echoed the cautions, as well as thanked customers for their ongoing support during this tough time.
“We would like to thank all of our customers that have supported Bulrush during these difficult and trying times. We are trying to adjust our procedures as needed, and we appreciate everyone’s understanding that everything we are doing is for my employees’ and our customers’ safety,” Olson said. “Golf is a great game that can be enjoyed by all. As long as everyone follows the new rules, golf courses will be able to remain open for everyone to enjoy.”
For more information on Purple Hawk Country Club, visit www.purplehawk.com or call 763-689-3800. Purple Hawk Country Club is located at 36300 Highway 65 North, Cambridge.
For additional information on Bulrush Golf Club or to book a tee time, visit www.bulrushgolfclub.com or call 1-877-358-1050 or 320-358-1050. Bulrush Golf Club is located at 605 Brookside Parkway, Rush City.