Golf season in New Hampshire starts Monday, May 11, according to Gov. Chris Sununu’s reopening guidelines, but not without dozens of safeguards for both the golfers and the clubs and employees.
Certainly, there’s a level of excitement, but expect things to be a bit different in a pandemic, says Intervale Country Club pro Matt Thibeault.
“We’ll shake hands again, but it won’t be right away,” he said last week, before the governor’s “Stay at Home 2.0” was released on Friday. “We’re sorta building the plane as we’re flying it.”
One positive byproduct of the golfing ban is that superintendents have had more time to improve the condition of the courses — without golfers trudging on them. In the meantime, clubs that have already instituted distancing procedures — Candia Woods Golf Links developed a pre-payment e-cash app “even before the coronavirus hit,” said general manager Shaun Bishop — are one step ahead.
Said Thibeault: “Now we just need some sun and some people.”
• Bedford High is looking for a new boys’ varsity basketball coach. Mark Elmendorf, who coached the varsity for the last five years, is stepping down. He and his wife are moving out of state, he said last week.
“It was awesome,” said Elmendorf, 59, who retired last year after 32 years of teaching. “Great place. Great kids.”
The Bulldogs reached the state Division I championship once under his guidance, in 2017, when they fell to Portsmouth. Bedford compiled a record of 11-7 this past winter before bowing to Alvirne of Hudson in the first round of the state tourney.
• “Sunderland ’Til I Die” on Netflix is pretty good. You may know that Britons take their football seriously, but the documentary series reinforces that.
• Three undrafted players from our FCS schools signed contracts after the NFL draft: UNH’s Prince Smith Jr., a cornerback, with the Eagles; Dartmouth’s Niko Lalos, a defensive end, with the Giants, and the Big Green’s Isiah Swann, a cornerback, with the Bengals.
• Congrats to SNHU on winning the East Coast Conference Rocket League Tournament title, beating Molloy 6-1. Apparently, the Penmen are dominant on the Esports scene. The team is coached by Aaron Brown and the players are Luke Hogan, Ben Richard and Shawn McAdam. If you’re unfamiliar with Rocket League or even Esports, Sparky, you may want to consult someone younger. I did.
• If you were wondering if the Boston Bruins had eyes for Manchester as a potential relocation for their ECHL team in Atlanta, wonder again. The Atlanta Gladiators’ 2020-21 season schedule came out last week. But we’re not an ECHL city anyway, right?
• Contrary to reports, the 2020 Minor League Baseball season has not been canceled, the league said in a statement last week. No decisions have been made on when it would be safe to start the season, MiLB said.
• In case you missed it, Major League Baseball intends to trim the number of teams in affiliated minor leagues. The word “dozens” has been used to describe the number. Most are Class A or below, and included on that list are the short-season Lowell Spinners, the Boston Red Sox’ team in the New York-Penn League.
Binghamton (Mets) and Erie (Tigers) of the Double-A Eastern League are also on that list. Binghamton finished last in EL average attendance last season (3,000) while Erie was third-to-last (3,315). The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, by comparison, finished seventh in the 12-team league, at 4,716.
Already, the EL all-star game scheduled for July in Binghamton has been canceled.
One report has the Brooklyn Cyclones, currently the Mets’ Class A New York-Penn League team, replacing Binghamton as their EL team.
• Speaking of New York, in a strangely timed announcement last week, Long Island University will go Division I in hockey and play as an independent in 2020-21. You try to predict the conference the Sharks will end up in. I can’t.
• The National Women’s Hockey League finalists play for the Isobel Cup, named after Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy, the daughter of Lord Stanley of Stanley Cup fame. Lord Stanley’s friends knew him as Frederick Arthur Stanley, the 16th Earl of Derby, by the way.
• Speaking of the NWHL, Boston Pride draft pick Paige Capistran of Manchester passed along a note that she was proud her story in Friday’s paper was on the same page as Joe Sullivan’s column. Unbeknownst to this editor, Joe was her great-uncle! They were very close, Paige reported, and Sully wrote her every week during her freshman year at Westminster School.
That last part wasn’t surprising.