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Golf course near London Ont., preparing to reopen, taking precautions amid coronavirus pandemic

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

Golfers may soon be allowed to return to the golf course, just in time for the warm weather to kick in.

Premier Doug Ford said last week that golf courses can prepare to reopen soon, but the official reopening date has yet to be determined.

Denton Hackney with Caradoc Sands in Strathroy, Ont. near London, told 980 CFPL on Monday the club’s main priority as it gets ready to open for the season is “making sure we have as much touchless points as possible.”

READ MORE: Golf Canada asks players to stay home amid coronavirus pandemic

“We’ll have food and beverage to be delivered to the carts, and then just as much hand sanitizer and information as we possibly can give.”

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Hackney says the golf course is also making sure all golfers follow social distancing rules, ensuring golfers are keeping away from the pro shop to as close to their tee time as possible, and also introducing online payments to limit staff-client interactions.

Golf courses were deemed a non-essential service by the province amid the COVID-19 pandemic and forced to shut down in late March.

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

Hackney says he and two other staff members at the golf course have kept busy over the past few weeks, maintaining the course after the shutdown.

“We have been cutting [grass] for weeks now, and we’ll slowly bring staff back as the weather gets better and when we need to maintain and cut grass more frequently.”

Hackney admits the club is quite nervous about reopening soon.

“Our biggest concern is [the] uncertainly of what people are going to be like when they come in here. Are people going to be nervous? [We] just [want to] protect our staff and protect them.”
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READ MORE: Three fined under COVID-19 emergency orders for golfing on closed Chedoke Golf Course

The demographic of the course’s clientele is another concerning factor, Hackney says.

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“We really don’t want to put people at risk. A lot of our clientele is on the older age, so that’s a big situation for us.

“We’re looking at a lot of those older members not even coming around the clubhouse and just heading to the tee, getting them out on the golf course, and just ensuring they’re understanding social distancing and staying away from people.”

Staff will be wearing gloves, and plexiglass shields have been installed in certain areas of the clubhouse, according to Hackney.

City courses will be maintained, but won’t be open
City courses will be maintained, but won’t be open

Before returning to the course, David Heald with East Park in London is reminding golfers to prepare their bodies and stretch first.

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“As we prepare for any golf season… make sure you’re being active and [have] a stretching regiment you can go through,” Heald told Mike Stubbs on Monday’s London Live.

You can listen to Heald’s tips and advice here: