Bob Burns enters his golf shop on a mobility scooter, his dog Hogan padding ahead of him. The door locks behind him. The lights are off. The parking lot is empty. There’s not a soul on the driving range. The police, in fact, have swung by a few times to make sure Burns is complying with Gov. Tony Evers’ order closing non-essential businesses, extended now to May 26.His competitors are also open:
Normally, April and May are busy months at Bob Burns Golf. People are itching to hit balls on the range, to get their clubs re-gripped, to purchase the newest equipment, to sign up for lessons.
This year, as we all know, is not normal. Burns owns a stand-alone driving range, one of thousands of businesses statewide shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic. Golf courses opened Friday and motorized carts are allowed starting Wednesday, but driving ranges must remain closed.
Scheels, a huge sporting goods store in Appleton, is open. So are Menards and Walmart and Costco, all of which sell golf equipment.There's more, lots more, at the link, including what Bob Burns has done for golf, in Appleton and beyond. Tony Evers doesn't care about any of that.
But the police are checking the doors at Bob Burns Golf, just in case a golfer or two has sneaked onto the range to hit a few balls, not only socially distanced but practically isolated.
“Why pick on me?” Burns says, with more incredulity than anger in his voice. “Who does more for this community and golf? Why pick on me?”
Tim Walz could decide to take a different path than Tony Evers. He will announce his decision shortly. There are businesses in Minnesota like the one Bob Burns runs in Wisconsin that will be out of business soon.