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Golf community worried about economic impact of coronavirus

Though March is typically a slow time of year, business usually picks up in April and May. Due to fears of the coronavirus, that might not happen.

Even in the cold and even during a global pandemic, Tom Leamon had to play golf.

"Quite frankly," said the 80-year-old Grand Rapids native, "I'm safer out here than I am here on the golf course than I am around any people."

All over West Michigan, golf professionals are hoping all of their customers share his attitude.

But understandably Watermark Properties general manager Chris Sobieck is a bit concerned. Throughout Michigan, he manages seven golf properties including four in Grand Rapids.

RELATED: Michigan bars, restaurants ordered to close Monday amid coronavirus concerns

Though March is typically a slow time of year, business usually picks up in April and May. Due to fears of the coronavirus, that might not happen.

"This is new territory for all of us," he admits. "This is something we are all trying to figure out every day."

Sobieck says it could be a huge blow to the business. In fact, he estimates 80% of his profits come during the spring and summer.

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"If this drags out, it will be devastating," he explains. But for the moment, Sobieck says there's still a chance to make money.

"Luckily for us, (golf) is an untouched sport, so our golf courses are all going to be open as long as we can be," he says.

And as long as they are, golfers like Leamon will keep swinging away

"The sun is out. It's a beautiful day." said Leamon. "You can play golf right now."

And so, he will.

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