Two of Northwest Indiana's preeminent public golf courses are opening this week after Gov. Eric Holcomb began relaxing state restrictions aimed at minimizing the spread of the coronavirus.
Wicker Memorial Park Golf Course in Highland will begin welcoming golfers Wednesday, while Lost Marsh Golf Course in Hammond is opening for the season Friday.
Golfers at both courses will be required to stay at least 6 feet away from other players, limit one person per golf cart, not touch the flag sticks and avoid gathering in large groups. The driving range at both courses also will be closed.
"These processes have been put in place because it is our job to do everything we can to keep everyone at Wicker Park out of harm's way when it comes to COVID-19. That includes staff wiping down golf carts after each round," Wicker Park Superintendent Brett Bierman said. "We can't wait to see our golfers return. Our course is in great shape, and we all know how good it feels to complete 18 holes."
Unlike in other states, Indiana public and private golf courses in Indiana have been permitted to operate while the governor's stay-at-home order was in effect.
These two courses, however, spurred a minor kerfuffle after Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., who oversees Lost Marsh, accused North Township Trustee Frank J. Mrvan, who supervises Wicker Park, of endangering public health by opening for golf one day in April.
Following McDermott's criticism, Mrvan promptly closed the Wicker Park course after concluding it was "in the best interest and safety of the community and all residents."
McDermott and Mrvan are among 14 candidates competing in the June 2 primary election for the Democratic nomination to represent Northwest Indiana in the U.S. House.