Ray Graef arrived at River Wilds Golf Club on Wednesday for his first round of the league schedule.
“I was a little worried about not having it this year with the whole COVID thing,” the Tekamah golfer said. “But they've got it set up decent for us where we don't have nothing to worry about out there.”
Wednesday League Night golf was delayed a few weeks, but River Wilds Director of Golf Dakota Loudner said team numbers held fairly steady with previous years' participation. There are 44 teams across four leagues — Palmer, Hogan, Seve and Jones.
The schedule, however, had to be reworked to provide appropriate traffic on the 18-hole course. The first group of players teed off at 11:50 a.m., while the last pairings did at 6 p.m.
Graef was thankful because Wednesday's start was his first as a league golfer.
“I've talked about it with a buddy for a few years and another guy we know had two people back out,” he said. “He asked us to join.”
Asked if his play was up to snuff, the Tekamah man grinned.
“If I can play bogey golf, we'll be alright,” Graef said. “We'll be good.”
Golfers with River Wilds league experience expected league play to start this year, but weren't quite sure when it would be.
“We knew it was going to happen sometime,” Dan McCaig said.
It's a positive thing, too, because the Blair man said camaraderie was among the things he and teammate Dale Skeen enjoy about league. Other gathering places have been closed in recent months, while golf courses have remained open.
“We enjoy the company of other teams,” McCaig added.
Second-year leaguer Chris Hilgenkamp of Blair — who plays alongside Joel Brunkhorst — had wondered what the effects of coronavirus would be on River Wilds golf, too.
“I enjoy playing golf and was hopeful that we would still be able to,” he said.
Once Hilgenkamp arrived at the course on Wednesday, however, he knew exactly what to expect on his scorecard by day's end.
“I'm probably at about where I was last year,” Hilgenkamp said. “That's not so bad for me. Haven't gotten any worse.”
The opposite could be said for others, too.
“Still haven't gotten any better,” joked McCaig, a 10-year league vet.