Island golf courses open, with restrictions, during pandemic
COURTENAY -- After a three-week shut down over COVID-19 concerns, a local golf course has reopened to its members, much to the relief of those anxious to hit the links.
Dave Stevens, president of the Sunnydale Golf Club, says the course was closed for three weeks, but has reopened with certain precautions to accommodate club members' mental and physical health.
"We have marshals out enforcing these rules and they're pretty simple rules," Stevens said. "Keeping your distance, we're not renting pull-carts, and just be aware of your surroundings."
Ball-washing stations on the course have been shut-down, as has the course's driving range. Motorized golf carts are also restricted to single occupants unless those occupants are members of the same household.
Sunnydale reopened to members only on Monday "to great success," Stevens says, although he does admit there were a few bumps. He says those have been resolved on-the-go by the board's executive committee.
Precautions are similarly being taken at the Crown Isle Resort & Golf Club, which didn't close during the pandemic, limited course access to members only as well.
"At our golf shop, we're one-touch, we're tap for paying and we have sneeze guards up to protect our members and guests," said Crown Isle general manager Bill Kelly. "As well, we have our players' assistants out there."
Crown Isle has similar restrictions in place as Sunnydale, but has also removed all of its sand rakes, doesn't allow the removal of flagsticks, and has flipped its cups so that balls don't go fully into the holes when putts are sunk.
Carts are also being sanitized between uses.
Kelly also says his course is following the recommendations of B.C.'s provincial health officer, who says it's OK to get outside and exercise if done at a distance.
"To have that outlet to be able to get out and have a walk and swing a golf club, the golf course is a place where you can self-distance, where you can stay six feet away from your playing partner so it's safe to get out and enjoy the sunshine" Kelly says.