Independence golf courses say pandemic surge is sticking around
Written by Haley Parnell, LINK Media reporter
As COVID-19 has kept many from seeing friends and family, golf courses have become a way to socialize safely. But even now that many indoor activities are resuming, a lot of the people who turned to golf are staying.
In Independence, The Willows and The Pioneer Golf Courses have seen a 15 percent increase in rounds played from pre-pandemic levels, said Nick Bednar, vice president of operations at Indigo Golf Partners, which operates the Kenton County courses. Bednar gave a facility update at the Kenton County Fiscal Court meeting Tuesday.
The courses are benefitting from being a distanced, yet social sport that allows for flexibility with work-from-home schedules, he said.
Don Mills golfs at one of the two courses twice a month these days, but he said that wasn’t always the case.
Mills was an infrequent golfer until 2020. That's when General Manager David Peru and Superintendent Ron Freking came onto the scene, using the surge in golfers to make improvements designed to keep them around.
"It's just so much more enjoyable to go out there and play because Dave and everyone always makes you feel welcome," Mills said.
Billy Casper Golf rebranded as Indigo Golf Partners with a renewed look and logo in the summer of 2020, using the motto of "Golf for Everyone." Last January, Troon Golf acquired Indigo Golf partners, merging two of the largest golf operators in the world.
More improvements are coming to courses, golf carts, equipment and cart paths, Bednar said Tuesday.
Mills said his one complaint about the courses is the cart paths, so that will be a welcome update for him.
According to Bednar's plans, the overarching goal is to create a more significant presence for Kenton County Golf Courses in Northern Kentucky.
"This is about being part of Northern Kentucky,” Bednar said. “That is our guiding light.”
For his part, Mills has noticed a difference.