Golf courses happy to have high school teams back this fall
Golf courses went through an economic struggle at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it hasn't caused many to cut ties with area high school programs gearing up for their fall seasons.
There's a variety of reasons for that. While high school programs do often get a discounted rate when they hold their meets and tournaments, they are still paying to use the courses and ranges.
They also provide patrons who purchase concessions. And players might go play practice rounds at a course where they have an upcoming meet or tournament.
And perhaps most importantly, it helps generate interest in the game for a future generation of customers.
Steve Rockrohr, athletic director at Glenbrook South, said he is expecting a full schedule at the Titans' home course, the Glenview Park Golf Club.
"We actually met with them several months ago, pre-COVID 19, and looked at the schedule," said the club's director of golf operations Ron Cassidy. "We certainly intend on hosting the most normal season we can for them, providing there are not any changes in guidance from the school administration, the IHSA or the governor's office. Yes, we do intend to host them."
Cassidy said his course has been the host to the boys and girls teams at Glenbrook South for a number of years, and the Titans girls junior varsity team competes across the street at the nine-hole Glenview Prairie Club Golf course.
"The biggest thing I'm worried about is if anything changes through the governor's office, the IHSA or the school district," Cassidy said. "What we've learned through this whole thing is to 'expect the unexpected.' Things are going to change and you can't put anything in concrete because, as we've learned, it's bound to change as we've come in and out of the different phases. As of right now, I can honestly say we look forward to hosting the Glenbrook teams as long as the guidance of the governor's office doesn't change."
With Sportsman's Country Club in Northbrook closed for renovation this fall, the Glenbrook North boys and girls golf teams will be without their longtime home course.
"We've been well aware of it," said Glenbrook North athletic director John Catalano. "It was supposed to happen last year, but there were some delays in the preparations. So our coaches started to work with different courses in January and February."
The Spartans will play all their matches on the road this season.
"And we're working with a few area golf courses for practice times," Catalano said. "So we'll be traveling quite a bit. We'll be all over the place, but it seems to be working out. It's not 100 percent scheduled out right now, but it's working out for both the boys and the girls.
"We're kind of bouncing around (some practices will be at Willow Hill Golf Course and Anetsberger Golf Course in Northbrook), but we're making do. Sometimes you only practice once or twice a week anyway once the season gets going."
Bruce Stoller, general manager at Arrowhead in Wheaton, said cooperation helps both the schools and the courses.
"Back in the day, 15 years ago, golf was struggling. High school golf was a way to bring people to a golf course in the afternoon and evening when it was slower," Stoller said.
"For us, that was never really the issue. It was more about helping the community and maintaining the relationship with the school district."
Arrowhead, owned by the Wheaton Park District, hosts both the Wheaton North and Wheaton Warrenville South boys and girls programs. Stoller said they will again this fall.
Rick Walrath, course manager at Pinecrest Golf Club in Huntley, said the economics work out for hosting the high school teams. That's true even after the slow start to the year in April when courses could only have tee times every 15 minutes, only two players in a group, and no carts or beverage carts.