There is so much to say about the crazy year we have all had. To simply put it, it has been a strange year. Yet, somehow, River Oaks persevered.
We had a late start to the season with Governor Walz Stay At Home Executive Order directing Minnesotans to limit movements outside of their homes. River Oaks wasn’t able to open for the season until April 18th, with only 15-hour notice after Governor Walz’s approval.
We made the necessary adjustments just in time to open. We closed our clubhouse and pro shop, staggered tee times, and ensured everyone stayed 6 feet away from others. Our grounds crew removed the sand rakes, ball washers, water coolers, and even raised the cup to eliminate the need to touch the cup or the flag. We limited doubling up in golf carts to only with household members. Our pro shop staff cleaned and sanitized carts after every round. We were limited to taking tee times only by internet or by credit card over the phone.
We made a big change to our driving range that everyone seemed to enjoy. Instead of buying range balls by the bucket, range slots were paid for by the hour with unlimited balls! Balls were cleaned and sanitized and already waiting on the range.
After May 1st, when Governor Walz allowed restaurants and bars to open up, River Oaks was able to open up our clubhouse. Despite this, we made the executive decision to limit the Eagles Bar and Grill food menu and reduced the number of people allowed in the clubhouse to only 20.
On September 2nd, the Cottage Grove City Council voted on a contract proposal for the expansion of kitchen facilities at River Oaks at a not to exceed price of $672,345. It was approved, and construction broke ground a few weeks later and completed before the end of November. The new expansion will help River Oaks achieve the financial success that COVID-19 has compromised, both in the short term and long term.
Although the kitchen expansion was a stroke of luck, we still weren’t able to host any weddings or any other large events, so we continued to double down and put most of our focus on golf. River Oaks was still able to host golf tournaments and our weekly leagues.
Despite being amid a global pandemic and despite all the major changes made to the course, somehow, 2020 was one of the more successful seasons we’ve had as a golf course in recent years. We had over 40,000 rounds of golf played this year, which is no easy task. We owe all our success to you, our guests, who came out to support us.
As a course, we worked extra hard to stay open for you and make River Oaks a safe and sanitary place for everyone. You all shared our concerns and showed your support by following our new guidelines and getting behind all the recent changes we’ve had to make to the course this season. We thank you for that.
We will see you again next season!