The Squamish Valley Golf Club is really getting into the swing of things as most COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.Since B.C. entered Step 3 of its restart plan on July 1, Scott Wengi, the general manager of Squamish Valley Golf Club, said the course has been just as busy as ever, and the staff has had a lot of weight lifted off of their shoulders because of fewer mandated protocols.
Additionally, he said the club has reopened its driving range to all customers, and tournaments are beginning to look more normal.“There’s a little bit of excitement with [tournaments] and a bit more participation now because what has always happened with those is there’s a lunch and sort of a social gathering afterward,” said Wengi.
“Obviously, throughout the last year and a half, we haven’t been able to do that.”Wengi said an upcoming tournament for members — the August Scramble — has 64 golfers signed up, which is a good turnout for that type of event.
Since the onset of the pandemic, there have been a few changes, but the club has been largely successful despite the pandemic and mandated health restrictions, said Wengi.“I feel somewhat guilty, and I’m sure others in the golf industry do [too],” said Wengi. “The golf industry definitely profited from this pandemic. That’s without a doubt.”
“We saw a lot of, not necessarily new golfers come to play, but people that maybe hadn’t played for a few years coming back to the game.”Wengi said the club was fortunate because golf “was a sport or activity that people could do with physical distancing and those type of things in place.”
On the other hand, the restaurant experienced a drop in revenue compared to before the pandemic, said Genevieve Demers, the food and beverage manager at the club.“We didn’t have any of the functions and the weddings, which is almost half of our revenue,” said Demers.
But the uptick in golf revenue made up for it, she said.“Because golf was one of the safer things to do, we got the best golf rounds ever, so we can kind of fall back on them,” she said.
Wengi also said the restaurant staff did experience extra hardship with the changing restrictions and keeping members and customers aware of the different rules. Demers said that they had to re-do the floor design and layout and how they brought dishes back to the kitchen. Also, Demers said that controlling the mingling between tables was difficult at times for the staff.With the lifting of the restrictions, things are more manageable, Demers said.
“We’re still dealing with a few things right now,” she said. “But it’s very, very minimal compared to what we had to deal with almost two years ago now.”When it comes to taking on new members, Wengi said they are not looking for more members right now as they want to ensure that daily green fee players can still have the opportunity to play.
Wengi also said he has been impressed with the new clientele that has come of late.“We’re seeing more and more females and more and more young females, which is great. We got a few younger female members in last year, which is fantastic too,” he said. “Our junior memberships have increased greatly. So that’s a positive.”