Watch: Golfers celebrate the return of their sport

Tee times filled all day Tuesday at Camas Meadows Golf Club

CAMAS — Scott Essman called immediately after the governor stopped talking.

The announcement was made: Golf would reopen in Washington on May 5.

Essman ended up with the first tee time of the “new” golf season at Camas Meadows Golf Club. He was the first to hit off the first tee Tuesday morning.

“I miss playing and being outside,” Essman said.

Washington golf courses, using social distance rules, were allowed to reopen Tuesday.
Photo by Paul Valencia

Essman certainly was not alone. At the same time, he was not near a lot of people, either. Instead of summer rules or winter rules, social distancing rules are in effect.

By 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, tee times were booked at the course all the way to 6 p.m.

Yes, golfers wanted their game back, and they proved it by showing up on a sunny Tuesday. They did not come out in droves, though. 

Far from it.

A couple golfers here. A golfer there. 

Just one or two at a time, parking, and moving their clubs from their cars to a golf cart. One person per cart. Two people only in a group. 

That’s part of the new rules that Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week. There is an exception. There can be groups of three or four as long as those people all reside in the same household.

Throughout the course, there are signs reminding golfers of the rules. Make sure to stay at least two club-lengths away from each other. Oh, and no touching of the pins. Just keep them where they are, and putt with the flagsticks in the hole. 

“Today marks the beginning, I guess, of normalcy in my family,” Dan Wright said. “Part of my routine is to come out four days a week and play. It’s good for my mental state, good for my physical state.”

Wright said the past month or so has been tough adjusting to not playing golf.

“I think my wife is sick of looking at me,” he said.

Some golfers interviewed Tuesday said they did go across the river to play in Oregon. (Many of that state’s courses have remained open.) 

Now, though, Washington golfers can stay close to home.