Golf returns to Rockford under new restrictions

Golf courses across Illinois reopened this weekend and Stateline golfers did not wait long to setup a tee time. Aldeen Golf Club is one of the first courses to open in the area and golfers say it could not have come at a better time.

Normally Aldeen starts seeing golfers on the course in late March. However, with the coronavirus pandemic shutting everything down, golfers in Illinois had to wait until this weekend to hit the links. Aldeen general manager Duncan Geddes said this is the latest the golf club has opened to the public. He expects the course to be busy with returning golfers and first-timers.

"It's great, it's safe. It's an outdoor activity," said Geddes. "So yeah, I think it's going to bring people that may not have been playing recently doing other things, definitely back out playing golf."

There are new guidelines to follow, like golf carts can only be used for those with a handicap or physical limitation and flagsticks have to stay in the hole. Another big change is dropping from groups of four to groups of two, but golfers are adjusting.

"A little different, walking, we're used to driving carts around," said Rockford resident Sam Budd. "No tee boxes lined up, so you kind of tee up wherever you want. But it's been good."

"It feels great. It a step towards normal life, a good boost for the morale," said Caledonia resident Brandon Larson. "It's good to see friends and come out on the course. You're still not really too close to anyone else, so it's not a big deal in our opinion."

High school golfers are taking advantage of the open courses as well. Boylan's Ella Greenberg has been out to Aldeen each of the last two days. She said it was hard to get a tee time because so many people want to play.

"It's just great that a lot of people are still golfing, even though there's a bunch of restrictions, like no carts and only twosomes. It's great to see that people are still coming."

While school and time with family is important for Greenberg, the Lady Titan is glad to be work on her golf game.

"It's so nice. We've been in the house for what, like, five weeks now. Just doing homework and homework and homework. Now, golf is a nice break from all of that."