As the speed of the Covid-19 golf boom may begin to decline, for Liberty National Golf Club, which has seen a 20-25% increase in the number of games played in 2021 compared to 2020 and demand in club adjustment services more than doubled year over year. year, it is expected that the surge will have endurance.

“I see the success and popularity continue for years to come. I think it will adjust a bit as people start to move in and offices start to open. With Omicron, we are seeing many offices delaying their return dates, ”said Lee Smith, club general manager, who joined the club in 2017 shortly after the golf course hosted the President’s Cup.

Liberty National is owned by Paul Fireman who ran Reebok for a quarter of a century before selling the athletic shoe company to Adidas for $ 3.8 billion in 2006 and building up a pretty fortune in the business. The club, drawn along a mile of the Hudson River waterfront in Jersey City on the site of a former landfill, cost $ 250 million to build and offers panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline.

Like many golf courses in the Tri-State area, they experienced the golf boom later than most parts of the country. During the first wave of the CovidPandemic of -19 in the spring of 2020, there is an exodus from the city and peripheral areas. Tens of thousands of wealthy New Yorkers left, heading to areas of the country where the virus didn’t seem to be lurking around every corner and bodies didn’t pile up in makeshift morgues. In the fall, the displaced residents began to return home and with them the leaves of departure began to fill up.

“We didn’t see what the rest of the country saw until back to school in fall 2020 and that’s when everyone came back to town and we started seeing a significant increase in activity, ”Smith recalls.

With the closure of the office building and the era of remote working already underway, the golf course and clubhouse have become a de facto office for many members and their families.

“All of a sudden, people who were usually playing once a week were now playing three times a week. People who played once a month now played once a week, ”says Smith.

Thinking back to the low points of the 21st century, whether it was 9/11, the 2008-2009 recession or the current pandemic, the business world tends to emerge smarter, more agile and more profitable.

Whenever there has been a wave of Covid, having club staff equipped to multitask when necessary has proven to be essential. Cross-training of staff will likely be another continuing trend that will survive the pandemic.

“Staff can now do more than ever before,” says Smith. Whether it is security personnel who can also carry golf bags, operate golf carts and function as an outside assistant or a front desk employee who can assist with food and drink or maintenance if necessary, ”he adds.

When employees tested positive and quarantined, there would be understaffed departments, and management would scramble to move staff to fill in the gaps as needed.

“I can’t say enough about our staff and how they treated everyone during this time and their willingness to go out and work in different places when a place can be short,” Smith adds.

Al fresco dining is another habit that’s likely to stick. While Liberty National hasn’t undergone any renovations, they’ve added tables in the grassy areas to increase seating outside. They also pumped up music and added heat lamps during shoulder seasons to keep outdoor areas cozy in cold weather.

“We really think alfresco dining and outdoor events that can be used to being in a banquet hall now could be outside in an alfresco tent,” Smith said.

Look ahead

The golfing public last saw Liberty National last August at the Northern Trust

. Prior to the event, the Delta variant was on its way to becoming the predominant strain of the virus, requiring additional scenario planning in case some aspect of the event needed to be changed, but ultimately there was no d significant operational impact. . While this tour date, which has alternated between the New York and Boston area, is not on the 2022 schedule, the venue has a long-term deal with the PGA Tour and will almost certainly host the Top Tour again. in the future.

In the meantime, the club will host a new event called the Icon Series in June 2022. It will be a Ryder Cup-style match-up tournament pitting twelve American sports icons, current and former, against twelve athletes from around the world.