MOUNT POCONO, Pa. — Pocono Manor PGA Director of Golf Greg Wall is thrilled his course is back open.
"It makes me feel great and not just for myself," Wall said. "Patrons who have been playing are just so happy to be outside and playing golf that it's really neat to see how much people are enjoying golf right now."
A feeling of relief, because COVID-19 was just the latest hurdle to clear.
"The fire itself was just devastating to me and everybody because this hotel was so iconic," Wall said, recalling the November 1, 2019 fire. "It's been here since 1902. It was really heartbreaking to think there was even a possibility that this golf course wouldn't be open, and all of our regulars and guests and patrons wouldn't be able to play here."
History means a lot to Wall. The son of Masters champion Art Wall Jr., Greg, has been the local pro for nearly four decades. After the fire, the future of amenities like the golf course were up in the air, but with the help of Oliphant Golf Management, the proper safety precautions, and the go-ahead from Governor Tom Wolf, the course re-opened on May 1 - six months to the day after the fire.
"I think it's really one of the first steps for a lot of people back to normalcy," Wall said.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic may not be as visible as the devastation from the fire, but together, it's been a perfect storm. So, this golf course opening back up is the symbol of hope this area needs.
"You see it in people's faces," Wall explained. "I've seen in its emails. I've seen it in texts. I've seen it when people come in here for the first time. They lost their hotel. They lost this wonderful landmark, and I think there's still a piece of Pocono Manor right now that's still alive and for the community, they're just so happy that Pocono Manor Golf Course is open right now."