With the weather taking a turn toward summer conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to loom over the region, one area golf course is hoping to say thanks to those directly addressing the public health crisis.

Richard Daley, Director of Golf at Meadow Links Golf Course in Richfield Springs, informed The Daily Star on Tuesday that the course is offering a free season membership to all first responders and hospital employees as thanks for their service during the pandemic.

“People here at Meadow Links decided to not give a free golf lesson or anything like that,” Daley said. “I want to say thank you to these people and get them out playing golf and enjoying themselves... I want to do it for the people that are true heroes.”

Daley said he wanted to give first responders and hospital employees the recognition they deserved during their time of hardship. He recalled returning from Vietnam to derision rather than thanks, and said he even now considers many thanks as being “hollow.”

“I want this to be a more concrete thank you than lip service,” he said. “It’s something they can do now while they’re going through it. They’re stressed out, working long hours. It’s a good place for them to relax, play some golf and maybe get away from the hecticness of caring for people.”

Daley asked that those qualified bring identification to verify their occupation. A membership typically costs $395, and includes golf for the season as well as a 10% discount at the pro shop.

He said once he had the idea, he did not have any trouble convincing course manager Steve Schanz.

“There’s a lot of community feeling in here, and a lot of people are under a tremendous amount of stress,” Daley said. “I’m not a doctor, I don’t work as a nurse, but we can all do something.”

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