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Playing Golf Offers A Reprieve

Courses on both sides of the river have been quite busy

Photo Provided Playing golf has served as a reprieve for many during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. From left are Belmont Hills Country Club members Larry Landtiser, Greig Paetzold, Dave Reasbeck and Dave Diosi.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Quite frankly, there are only so many times a person can cut the grass, clean out the garage or watch Tiger King on Netflix before needing something different to do.

As the Ohio Valley and entire country remains in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, there are only a few things that many Americans enjoy that haven’t been temporarily taken away in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Thus, finding entertainment and ways to gain a reprieve from the day-to-day stresses of life has become a challenge for many.

Unless, you’re a golfer, however.

Both Ohio and West Virginia’s governors have opted to keep golf courses open because social distancing can be implemented relatively easily.

And, regardless of weather conditions, courses on both sides of the river have been quite busy.

The rate at which the likes of Dave Diosi, Anthony Reasbeck, Larry Landtiser, Greig Paetzold and Dave Reasbeck are piling up rounds would make one believe they’re going to posting really low scores this summer.

“I have played every day when the weather cooperates and even sometimes when it wasn’t,” Diosi said. “(Golf) has been my sanctuary during the pandemic. Fresh air, great friends and my family is happy I am out of the house for a few hours.”

All courses have taken on different measures to help promote a healthy atmosphere and do all they can to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

And the measures such as one person per cart, putting with the flagstick in the hole and the ball not dropping all the way to the bottom of the cup are fair trades for area players.

“I personally take this (pandemic) very seriously and Belmont Hills is following the protocol by the book,” Diosi said.

Golf has always been an individual sport, but the pandemic has caused it to be even less of a social sport. Groups are still permitted to play together, but the days of high fiving after rolling in a long birdie putt or even shaking the hand of your playing partner after the round are long gone.

“The pandemic has made everyone aware that golf is not as social,” Belmont Hills member Larry Landtiser said. “BHCC has made the safety of all — players and employees — a top priority, so we’re all aware of being respectful of others health.”

Along with the opportunity to simply get outside, see some friends and get their mind off of what’s going on in the world, the ability to golf in the current conditions has allowed for some to help fulfill their competitiveness.

Anthony Reasbeck is a prime example of that. Bittersweetly, Reasbeck has many more rounds in this season than he’s had in several years because, unfortunately, there’s no high school baseball.

Reasbeck is the head coach at Martins Ferry and normally the golfing opportunities he has in April, and sometimes May, are few and far between because of games and practices.

“Golf is really the only thing keeping my mind off of everything,” Reasbeck said.

“Golf is an absolute necessity for me. I should be coaching baseball as we speak. I still check our schedule each day to see who we should be playing and I miss my team tremendously.”

Along with the escape from the day-to-day stresses of life, Landtiser, who is playing an average of four times a week at Belmont Hills, believes golf provides an idea of normalcy. He means that both in terms of what life was like prior to the arrival of the coronavirus and also what’s ahead in the future.

“(Golf) is like an escape from the nightmare of this quarantine and pandemic,” Landtiser said. “It offers hope that one day soon we will return to a sense of normalcy, albeit a new normal.”

No one knows officially when that ‘new normal’ may arrive or what it may look like, but Diosi, Anthony Reasbeck, Landtiser, Paetzold, Dave Reasbeck and golfers all across Ohio and West Virginia do know they can continue to book a tee time.

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