Restrictions on public activity due to COVID-19 may have led to a surge in new memberships at the Dos Rios Golf Course west of Gunnison — many of whom are younger than the typical crowd.
Dos Rios is entering its fourth week of being open — however up until now only members could play. The reasoning behind the decision was to deter people from out of town from traveling to Gunnison to play on the course, since the Gunnison Valley has been closed to visitors.
As of Monday, April 27, the course is now open to the public due to a revision of a standing Public Health Order.
But oddly enough, the prior restrictions may have helped increase membership at the club. Since Saturday, April 4, 27 new members have joined, with the average age of the new members being younger — between the ages of 20 and 40.
“I think in the beginning since you couldn’t play unless you were a member, and no one knew when it was going to be open to the public, a bunch of people who played here several times joined,” said Al Pryor general manager and golf professional at Dos Rios. “Since it's been open to the public, we’ve gained four more members. I think what is happening is that we’re getting a sphere of influence, where friends are joining so they can play with their buddies.”
While the course may be open, there are a few parameters that the public and members must follow.
“When we first sent our exemption form in, we weren't allowed to use carts. However recently they allowed us to use our carts, and our first day with carts was on Sunday, May 3,” said Pryor. “It's a single rider to a cart, no more than four people to a group and now we have signs everywhere about social distancing. We also don’t touch the flag pole anymore, and put styrofoam in the holes.”
Additionally, the bar and grill and the pro shop are closed; however, golfers can place take out orders for the grill and are required to pay over the phone with a credit or debit card — no cash will be taken for the time being.
Even though some things may be different at Dos Rios, people are still coming out to golf — resulting in the club being busier than usual.
As carts hit the course for the first time, 162 rounds of golf were played which is a lot for this time of the year.
“We used a whole lot of carts since people were riding by themselves, so we created a disinfectant program with our golf cart workers,” said Pryor. “We wash the carts down then put alcohol and peroxide on the steering wheel, handle rail, bag straps and whatever else they will be touching.”
“It's been a fun environment,” said Pryor. “People have had a festive attitude and it has been fun to watch people have a good time.”
(Brandon Warr can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)