CLEVELAND — One industry that stayed busy despite the pandemic, or maybe because of it, was golf.

What You Need To Know

  • According to Golf Digest, 500,000 more golfers hit the links during 2020 than just one year before, and 6.2 million new players joined the game

  • StoneWater Golf Club in Highland Heights is hoping to maintain that momentum and even build on it
  • Many golf clubs will have more open restaurants compared to the start of the 2020 season as well

Ned Weaver gets into the golf cart and heads off to play the game he loves. 

“Last year was a little different because of the pandemic, but I like to try to get out a couple times a week if I can. I spend a lot of my time teaching,” Weaver said.  

Weaver, the director of golf for StoneWater Golf Club, gets some swings in on the driving range. Something he’s been doing since he was a pre-teen. 

“I started playing when I was 12 years old, just fell in love with it. Went to school at Kent, played at Kent State beginning in 1975 and was very fortunate to play for coach Herb Page at Kent State,” he said. 

The pandemic has brought a lot of changes for every industry, but for golf, things got busier. 

“Probably in one word just pretty chaotic. Golf boomed. I mean, our rounds went way up. But people, it was their only chance to go outside, and with the pandemic, it was one of the few things they could do,” Weaver said.

Inside the StoneWater kitchen, Executive Chef Kathryn Neidus gets some meatloaf ready. The restaurant was limited to takeout only before reopening with limited seating last year because of COVID-19. But things are starting to pick back up. 

“Especially with vaccine’s coming out, I think people are getting a little bit more comfortable, but from day one we’ve always been, our standards have been super high with the cleanliness and social distancing, and we have so much outdoor space that now we can put our tables out on the patio, we put it out on the path cart,” Neidus said.

Out on the putting green, Weaver said he thinks people will continue their interest in golf into 2021.

“They’ve invested because they weren’t sure how long the pandemic would be, so we’re seeing people investing not only in equipment but in their own game with lessons and, yeah, I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.” 

And he’s excited to continue sharing and teaching the sport he loves with more people. 

“Oh, it’s great. I mean, I’ve done it for so long but it’s great seeing people out here enjoying the game. We’re seeing a lot of juniors, a lot of ladies taking up the game, which is just terrific,” Weaver said.