Along with a few other businesses in the state, Eagle Creek Golf Course in Findlay got a reprieve from the governor and is now open.
The Eagle Creek Resort and Conference Center may have been erased from the backdrop, but Eagle Creek Golf Course is still nestled amidst 34,000 acres of woods and prairie at Eagle Creek State Park. It is back on course and playing through.
State Parks had been closed in March due to an emergency order from the governor of Illinois during the COVID-19 crisis. The state parks were re-opened with restrictions on May 1, the same day that golf courses were allowed to re-open.
According to Eagle Creek Golf Course General Manager Josh Weeks, the course, which had been closed due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, fielded 25 golfers the first day it could re-open, 49 the next day and 46 the third day.
“We have limited tee times and some restrictions under the order,” Weeks said. “We’ve had good numbers and it looks promising.”
It has been difficult for Eagle Creek and its new owners.
“The course is under new management, Rodems Golf Management, LLC,” Weeks said. “We opened on March 9. Then on March 17th, the stay-at-home-order shut us down.”
Under the modified stay-at-home order Eagle Creek was allowed to open, after a six-week hiatus, last Friday, on May 1. They also have some restrictions.
“We are limited to twosomes,” Weeks said. “Also, tee times must be 15 minutes apart. Normally tee times run from 8-10 minutes apart. The national average is about 12 minutes. We will eventually go back to 8 minutes, when the restrictions are removed.”
Weeks also said that carts are not permitted, golfers have to walk.
‘There is one exception,” Weeks said. “If a golfer has a physical limitation or disability that would keep them from playing, they can rent a cart.”
According to weeks, another restriction is that the course cannot take cash. Everything is credit or debit. Season passes can be purchased with a check. These restrictions are in play from May 1 to May 31, unless otherwise specified.
The weather is finally beginning to warm up, in-between showers and Weeks says the course is ready for action.
“The course is in great shape,” Weeks said. “We are getting great reviews. The golfers are happy. I have been helping the grounds crew getting ready.
Weeks is originally from Urbana and attended Easter Illinois University. He has worked in sports management, including minor league baseball, as well as golf.
“I am very excited to be here,” Weeks said. “It is a great property. It is beautiful. We want everybody to have fun at a reasonable price. I’m big on “customer experience.” We are going to do our best to make them happy.”
Eagle Creek is the only 18 hole golf course on Lake Shelbyville. Timberlake Golf Course is a 9-hole golf course a few miles a way. Sullivan Country Club is a few miles northwest. However, Fox Prairie in Windsor has closed and Shelbyville Country Club is still closed.
Not only has the course been busy since Friday, Weeks said the course is receiving a lot of interest.
“I’ve been fielding a lot of phone calls from people,” Weeks said. “We have good representation from around the area, Shelbyville, Sullivan and Findlay.”
Eagle Creek is working with Okaw Valley and Shelbyville School District to prepare for the prep golf schedule next fall. They are also looking at a arrangement for high school golf team members to play this summer with special rates.
Special rates are being offered right now at the course. Manic Monday rate is $1 a hole, including a cart. Regular adult rate, Tuesday through Sunday, is $30 for 18 holes, including a cart, or $18 walking.
Senior rate (60 or over) is $10 for 18 holes, walking, or $25 for 18 holes with a cart. Twilight rates, after 3 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, are $20 for unlimited holes.
Eagle Creek Golf Course is an 18-hole municipal course, 6,924 yards from the far tees, par 72 with a slope of 134. It is know for it’s tree-lined fairways on the banks of Lake Shelbyville. The course was built in 1989.
Rodems Golf Management, LLC also manages The University of Illinois Golf Course, Piper Glen Golf Club in Springfield, Ironhorse Golf Club in Tuscola, and Canyata Golf Club near Marshall.
For more information on Eagle Creek Golf Course call the pro shop at (217) 756-5550.