Brockville golfers, golf courses rejoice as Ontario allows course to reopen this weekend
BROCKVILLE -- As golfers and golf courses across Ontario collectively held their swing ahead of Wednesday's Premier Doug Ford media conference, the reaction at Sunnidell Golf and Learning Centre in Brockville was jubilation with the news they could re-open.
"Relieved. It's good. It's good, it's all good," said Dan and Margarida Clayton, who own the facility.
"I don't know how we're going to recoup the losses we've incurred over the last six weeks," said Dan "It's cost us a lot of money."
He gets cut off as the phone starts to ring in the clubhouse, with golfers eager to book tee times.
"The phone starts ringing! Well, here we go," Dan said.
Golf courses were forced to close in mid-April when Ontario issued a stay-at-home order in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Ontario is allowing outdoor recreational amenities to reopen as of May 22, including golf courses and tennis courts.
The couple say things can finally return to a bit of normalcy at Sunnidell Golf and Learning Centre in Brockville, adding the lockdown has been frustrating.
"It was terrible," said Dan "We were super busy. It was a great early season, an unexpected early season."
The business employs nine people, and laying off staff was one of the hardest things they've ever had to do.
"We have volunteers here now. Myself it's been 12-hour days and 14-hour days just trying to keep up with the grass," he added.
His wife Margarida, working hard to get the course back in shape, had some choice words for the premier about the shutdown earlier in the day.
"Doug Ford says Ontario is a place to grow. Well, I've been growing grass and debt. Thank you very much," she said.
"The taxes still got to be paid, the hydro has to be paid, everything has got to keep going," added Dan.
Having only one wish.
"Open the gates, let people golf! Let people be let me earn my living," Margarida exclaimed.
With the news they will open on Saturday that wish was granted.
"It's been a long time it really has were just thrilled to be able to open," she said.
"First tee time! First tee time booked already! That's awesome," Margarida added as a clubhouse employee got off the phone.
The duo, eager to get back to work.
"Game on!" Dan yelled, getting into his mower to cut some grass, prepping the grounds for some happy golfers this Saturday.