As fears rise amid the coronavirus pandemic, organizers believed as long as safety was put first, it was important to give kids and their families something to smile about.

“The response has been tremendous from emails and texts saying ‘Jimmy, thank you so much for keeping our family together,’” US Kids Golf Regional Tournament Director Jimmy Headrick said. “When it seems like everything is folding down and closing in athletics, we come to the birthplace of golf at Great Southern and renew our spirit.”

Sixty-eight kids between the ages of 6-14 signed up for the event, and all but five showed up Sunday to play. And for those 63 kids that played, all necessary safety precautions were the top priority.

“There was no signing of scorecards, they put the scorecards in the box,” Headrick said. “They didn’t have a scoring table. We didn’t have a registration table. They came just to the first tee. There was no physical contact. Granted, they couldn’t shake hands or have physical contact, but there were a lot of air high-fives, which was cute.”

Despite the great success of Sunday afternoon’s event, club president Ellis Hill said that there were conversations about at least postponing the event but after weighing everything, decided to let the kids to play on.

“We had been listening very closely to all of the guidance that comes out from all the local, state, federal, and world health organizations,” Hill said. “What we decided was we should go ahead and continue this tournament because as you can tell, people are not that close, so you get the social distancing, plus it’s open air as you can see, and the kids were counting so much on coming out here as you can tell by the number of people that did show up.”

Hill says Great Southern will stay open as long as it can for those looking for either a quick nine holes or an afternoon round of 18. But he also urges people to use caution if those fears scare you away.

“You have to use your own discretion, your personal judgment, and determine what’s best for you and your family,” he said. “If you feel that there’s any danger at all, then I would say stay home. But I think it’s a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and not having a lot of risk associated with coming out and doing something that is enjoyable.”