ROCHESTER, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order on Friday that allows you to once again enjoy outdoor recreation such as golfing, boating, fishing, hunting, and hiking. The announcement came as a surprise to everyone – course owners included.
“It was a surprise,” Andy Black said. “We kind of heard rumblings that it was coming soon, especially with Wisconsin saying they were going to open next week. To be honest with you, I kind of thought that’s our target date so when we heard it today we were a little surprised but very excited."
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Last fall, the Rochester golfing community was shocked when Willow Creek announced it would be closing. Without missing a beat, Andy Black and his business partner, Will Lancaster, stepped in as the new owners of the links located in south Rochester.
When the Governor announced golf courses can reopen, we wondered if there was anybody more excited than Black and Lancaster.
“Probably not,” Black said. “We’ve been ready for a while and with the nice weather for the last few weeks, it was a little tougher of a wait. However, the excitement is very much pent over.”
While the Governor’s executive order allows golfers to return to the fairways, there are guidelines that must be followed including maintaining social distance, not gathering in large crowds, and staying close to home.
Black says Willow Creek will have signage around the course reminding patrons of the guidelines and restrictions.
“The clubhouse is closed in most fashions, however, the bathrooms will be open and we will have some stuff to go.”
With the good news, the phones won’t stop ringing. Golfers are clearly eager to get back to the sport they know and love.
“Most of the golfers we tell them there is still some snow, it’s still wet in some areas, we are walking only and not one person has cared. They’re just excited to be out here – they just want to be outside and what better way is there than to be on a golf course?”
With the clubhouse being mostly closed, Willow Creek is asking that you sign up for a tee time online here.
Other facilities that may reopen include bait shops, shooting ranges, game farms, public and private parks, as well as boating and off-highway services. The order is effective as of 5 AM on Apr. 18.