OTTAWA -- It’s an early start to the golf season for some courses across the Capital region and it’s teeing up to be a banner year as more people look to head outdoors for safe, physically-distant activities.

Emerald Links Golf & Country Club opened Tuesday, nearly three weeks ahead of what Kevin Patterson, who is a member of the ownership team, says would be a normal season.

“This is very early and very dry for this time of year the winter was kind to the golf course the grass is in good shape,” says Patterson who is optimistic for a busy season. “We are very fortunate to be open in these times and we’re happy we have a great year ahead of us. The phones have been ringing off the hook for the last few days and everybody wants a little bit of green space these days.”

As with other golf courses in the region, regulations will be in place. Mask use is required in common areas, like outside the club house at arrival and where physical distancing is not possible. Guests are encouraged to book tee-times online, and if there is a requirement to purchase equipment from the pro shop, it’s best to call-ahead. Golf carts will be sanitized before and after play. Food and beverages will be able for order, with pick-up only.

For Peter Mackinnon and Bob Tasse, who teed-off at Emerald Links mid-morning, it was the perfect start to the season.

“The course is in great shape and we’re having a ball we’re on the back-nine,” says Mackinnon, who plays about 140 games a year.

“We’re booked for the rest of this week and next week as well,” added Tasse.

Patterson says, he is also looking forward to opening their sister courses, Anderson Links in Carlsbad Springs, Ont. and Cloverdale Links in Winchester Ont. on April 8.