Updated: May 18, 2020
While it may not be business as usual, golf courses across Ontario opened their doors on Saturday after Doug Ford announced golf courses would be included in phase one of re-opening essential businesses.
As golfers filled course parking lots, several new guidelines and restrictions have been put in place to ensure that social distancing measures continue to be followed. Some of these measures include; lifted cups, one golfer per cart, 6 feet of distance at all times and several more.
When asked about their opening day, Manager Trudy Rivard of the New Liskeard Golf Club praised golfers for respecting the guidelines, making it a successful day for all.
“By now, everyone seems to have become accustomed to the new social distancing measures. It’s been busy all day which is obviously nice to see. We had several golfers from as far as Timmins come play and use the range. Overall, I think it was a great starting point.”
Eric Martineau was one of several from Timmins that made the day trip to New Liskeard and believes that making golf coures a part of phase one is a great first step and gives golf a great opportunity to set the standard for the next phases of re-opening.
“I think the right measures are in place to ensure everyone’s safety. Cups were lifted, the driving range had more than six feet between hitters, you were to score your round electronically, all things that nobody had an issue with.”
“Golf has a chance to set the standard for businesses to follow suit. Now it’s up to us to show them that these measures do work and we can slowly go back to enjoying things that have been in idle for so long.”
The North Bay Golf & Country Club was also an NGA member course that opened its doors on Saturday, however limited its play to members only. Director of Golf Jeff Mancini believes it was important to give his staff and members a chance to adjust to the new measures in a safe and controlled environment.
“I think the first day went really well. Everyone’s been waiting a long time to get out there, but the new guidelines made for a safe and welcoming environment.”
New guidelines didn't slow down many golfers however, as Roy Storey wasted no time getting one of golf's first aces of the season with a 6 iron on #2 at the North Bay Golf & Country Club.
Mancini was also quick to recognize the efforts of his members and staff, adding that it requires a cooperative effort to ensure that everyone can enjoy their round.
“Our members and staff are what made it (Saturday) so successful. Their work and cooperation certainly can’t go unnoticed, hats off to them.”
As for the remainder of the golf season, Mancini says they are eager to expand on some of the measures, however, will comply with the next steps of the Government re-opening phases and go from there.