In this view from the east fence of the Lookout Point Country Club, the greens were appropriately empty last Friday. DON RICKERS

For some, it’s putter over pandemic

Golfers tend to be an anxious bunch. As spring beckons, they dust off their clubs and eagerly anticipate getting back on the fairways.

COVID-19 restrictions have put a damper on golf in Niagara, despite the fact that the weather has been conducive to an early start to the season. But government edicts are not enough to thwart those who are truly addicted. The rationale is simple: it’s a nice day, the turf is green, there’s nobody around, so what’s the harm in hopping the fence and smacking a few balls off the 9th tee? And while I’m at it, why not finish off with a chip and putt?

All this can come at a price much higher than green fees, however.

Global News reported on April 4 that three people are each facing $750 fines for golfing on a closed municipal course in Hamilton. The charges were laid at Chedoke Golf Course by Hamilton Police, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), currently in force as part of a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Dan Greenwood, the General Manager at Lookout Point Country Club in Fonthill, sent an email to the club membership recently reminding them that the course is officially closed until further notice, and that trespassers will be prosecuted by the Niagara Regional Police. He mentioned that course technicians have already shooed a number of over-zealous types from the lush lawns.

“April 22nd was to be the official start to our golf season this year, but obviously we have had to push that into the future,” said Greenwood. “I know people are getting antsy to play, but they are just going to have to be patient.”

Incredulously, these interlopers, when challenged, often respond with ignorance of the laws in place.

Sir, the course is closed. Really, it is. See the signs? No flags on the greens, right? No refrigerated golf cart trundling along the pathways with your favorite cold beer, right? Nobody in your face to collect green fees, right? No cars in the parking lot, right? Did you notice that the gates and all the doors are locked?

Passion for golf can run amok, like a junkie’s cravings for crack.

Gentlemen (I assume that the transgressors are of the male gender): leave your sticks in the bag for a bit. They’ll still be there when the courses open again in the (hopefully) not–too-distant future.

Spend some quality time at home. With your kids, remember? And your wife…yes, the lady who irons your golf slacks. Talk to your family. They may even share your grief at the fact that the Masters has been postponed to November.