Driving range

Dr. Betty Young, left, president of Hocking College, and Bryan Lutz, executive director of facilities for the college, hit the first balls from the tees at the Hocking College driving range Wednesday, Sept. 10, in Nelsonville. The 300-yard range is open to the public and free for students and employees.

NELSONVILLE — There’s a new spot to work on your golf swing in Southeastern Ohio.

This week Hocking College opens a new driving range on its Nelsonville campus.

The driving range was created as a way — along with revamped tennis/pickleball courts, increased student life events and more and free Leisure Learning and Hocking Makers Network events — to entice students not to travel home on weekends to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“We’re just trying to offer as many different opportunities for our students as possible,” Nate Perez, manager of the college’s student center and campus recreation, said.

The 300-yard driving range, located in an old grass overflow parking lot across Hocking Parkway from John Light Hall, is also open to the general public.

“We wanted to offer the community another recreation opportunity as well,” Perez said.

With social distancing in mind, the range will initially have six to eight tee boxes for golfers.

There are no reservations, and there won’t be a time limit unless a line begins to form. The only cost is for balls: $5 for a bucket of about 45 balls and $7 for a bucket of about 90 balls. The only thing golfers should bring are their own clubs, but if you don’t have any and want to try your hand on the range, you’ll be able to rent clubs. Hocking College students can use the range for free, get golf balls, and use free clubs with their Hocking College ID. Balls and clubs will be sanitized after they are returned.

The range is open from 1 p.m. until dusk on Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. Perez said there would be at least one attendant working at the range at all times and that the college plans for the range to be open until Nov. 25 when students go home for the semester.

Since the range is on Hocking College’s campus, everyone using it will have to abide by the college’s coronavirus protocols, including wearing a mask or face covering that covers the nose, mouth and chin even when you’re outdoors and unable to maintain a six-foot distance between yourself and other people.

Additionally, all visitors to the campus must check in at a designated location before going to the range. From 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, visitors wanting to use the range should check-in at the north entrance to John Light Hall. After 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday and on weekends, golfers should check-in at the Hocking College police station.

The check-in process is part of the college’s coronavirus protocol. Visitors will be asked a series of questions about their health, possible exposure to the virus, any recent travel they may have done and have their temperature taken with a touchless thermometer. They’ll also need to have a mask or face covering on before entering the check-in building.

Students and employees should check-in at their regular locations, except on weekends, when employees and students who live off-campus should use HCPD.

No alcohol or tobacco products of any kind are permitted on the Hocking College campus. Children under younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times to use the range.

For more information about Hocking College’s driving range, contact Nate Perez at either perezn@hocking.edu or 740-753-6537.

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