With spring here to stay, and B.C. the only province in Canada allowing golf courses to open, all eyes are on courses in the Peace region golf courses and when they’ll be open, and under what conditions and protocols.
Social distancing on the golf course
While golf course staff are excited about being able to open and get the season started, they can’t stress enough how important it is that everyone follows the rules put in place.
“It’s zero tolerance. We need everyone to make sure they are accepting the rules and most are. We are lucky that B.C. is allowing us to play and we don’t want to be responsible for anything bad happening,” said John Rigsby, owner of Farmington Fairways.
All courses are doing away with touch points — there will be no ball washers, sand trap rakes, and broken tea cups — and shallower cups will allow golfers to retrieve their golf ball using a club without the need to touch or remove the flagstick.
Golf carts will be limited to one person per cart, though people who live in the same household will be able to ride together if they can show proof. As well, most courses are either increasing the gap between tee times, or booking a party in every other time slot to reduce congestion on the course.
“We have quite a few protocols in place just to be safe, and we prefer if people can call ahead and book tee times. We prefer not to have walk-ins,” said Troy Knight, general manager of Lakepoint Golf and Country Club in Charlie Lake.
While each course is taking precautions to ensure social distancing, the various rules and protocols may vary at each course and it's important that golfers understand what is required of them on a specific course before beginning their round.
“As long as everyone can face the rules, we’ll face it head on and will give people a chance to get out and get some fresh air and physical activity,” Rigsby said.
Farmington will have a soft opening on Wednesday, April 29, with only foot-traffic allowed on the course as more time is needed for it to dry up. As course staff gets an idea and handle on running a golf course under these circumstances, they will open it up for more people and tee times throughout the week.
Farmington's driving range is open for use as well. All golfers are asked to go through Farmington’s regulations on its Facebook page.
Lone Wolf Golf Club will open April 29 at 12 p.m, in a limited capacity. Detailed regulations for the 2020 season can be found in a post on Lone Wolf's Facebook page.
The Lone Wolf clubhouse will be closed, and golfers are asked to go straight to the back patio area for all services. A tee time is required — walk-ons will not be accepted. The driving range is closed for now, but food service will be available from the back patio window.
Fort St. John Links is hoping to open by Monday, May 4. Clubhouse manager Jeff Holland said the course is coming along great and will be in good shape once it opens.
Lakepoint is finally free or almost free of snow, though it is still wet and it may be a week or two before it opens.
Knight said he is excited to open the course but cautioned that the clubhouse won’t be as open as it normally would, and the typical nineteenth hole mingling is being discouraged.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.