PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — Under Illinois’ stay-at-home order, people are allowed to go out for walks, hikes and jogs to help relieve stress.
Those belonging to the Pekin Country Club said they see no difference in those exceptions and spending time on the golf course. They said it helps give them solace during stressful times.
However, since the course itself is not considered an essential business some individuals who saw people on the course said it should be closed, but members disagree.
Douglas Harrington, who said he’s been a member of the club for 35 years, said as long as they’re following the club’s safety protocols, they should be able to continue using its golf course.
“We’re not bothering anybody,” Harrington said. “We’re practicing safe interaction and distant interaction.”
Harrington said he agrees with the decision to keep the golf course open for members only especially since he said social distancing guidelines are being followed. He also said spending time on the course helps alleviate tension.
“I’m a doctor and I just got off a 36-hour shift,” Harrington said. “I feel like it’s an important thing if you get the chance to be safe and still have an opportunity to relax, do something fun and exercise.”
Jeff Lower, Tazewell County Sheriff, said because the golf course is on private property, he can’t legally interfere and remove people.
“I can’t under my authority remove someone from private property when they have authority to be there,” Lower said. “I’m simply trying to observe the rights that the people have and the authority that I have to enforce the law.”
Sheriff Lower also added the general focus should be on the bigger picture.
“I’m kind of disappointed that we’re in the midst of the worst medical emergency that this country has ever seen in my lifetime and the topic of the day is who’s golfing and who’s not,” Lower said. “That’s disappointing.”
Harrington also said since golfing isn’t a contact sport, he hopes more courses will open.
“As long as we’re safe and practicing safety and distancing I think more people can enjoy the same sport that we do,” Harrington said.