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Calgary golf courses ready for hectic opening weekend amid COVID-19 restrictions

Calgary golf courses ready for hectic opening weekend
WATCH: It’s the news golfers have waited weeks for. As part of its relaunch plan, the province is allowing golf courses to open starting Saturday, but, as Cami Kepke reports, the move comes with plenty of new regulations for golfers and not a lot of notice for staff.

It’s the news Alberta golfers have waited weeks for: as part of its relaunch plan, the province is allowing golf courses to open starting Saturday, May 2.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Alberta phased relaunch strategy will see some restrictions eased Friday

But the move comes with plenty of new regulations for patrons and staff — and not a lot of notice.

“When [Premier Jason] Kenney announced that we could open this weekend, in his words, the phone rang literally 10 seconds after that came out of his mouth,” Fox Hollow Golf Course head professional Greg Griffith said. “Everyone just sees the light at the end of the tunnel now.”

Now, like many courses, they’re hastily preparing for a busy weekend.

The National Allied Golf Association of Alberta had already laid out a detailed set of guidelines for social distancing measures prior to the province’s announcement as part of its bid for golf courses to open earlier this month.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Saskatchewan golf courses will have new rules when they open

According to the new rules, which are also posted on the province’s website, golfers will not be allowed inside clubhouses during the initial relaunch.

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All power and pull carts will be sanitized before and after each use and it’s one person to a cart unless golfers live in the same house.

At Fox Hollow, staff will greet golfers in the parking lot to make sure they’re aware of all the new rules.

“They’re given a strict time allotment to get checked in,” Griffith added. “Then they’ll be told when they can go over to the first tee box. The putting green will be closed. It’s gonna be really different.”

“It’s tough because in the spring, it’s like letting the dogs out. But I think everybody’s just super happy. I think they’re gonna follow [the rules]. They think they’re just overwhelmed with joy that we’re going to be able to walk the fairways.”
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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Alberta golfers ask Dr. Hinshaw to change her mind and open courses

Seven city-owned courses will not be opening their gates.

“When you talk about how many people we’ve laid off and lack of seasonal hires, those are the people who repair the courses, so no way no how will they be able to move forward,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters Friday.

“Many, many people who use public courses are seniors. So we have to ask ourselves, even with all the restrictions, even with all this in place, do the benefits outweigh the risks?”

It’s unclear when city courses may reopen.

While things may look a little different, courses hope golfers can show some patience and respect for the new rules as links across the province prepare for an opening weekend like no other.