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Golf courses in London Ont. ready to reopen for Victoria Day long weekend

The city says a marshal will be present at each golf course to ensure all practices and procedures are being followed, and to answer any questions players may have.
The city says a marshal will be present at each golf course to ensure all practices and procedures are being followed, and to answer any questions players may have. Felipe Dana/AP Photo

Golfers in the London Ont., region are allowed back on the course just in time for the long Victoria Day weekend.

Golf courses in the city are preparing to reopen Saturday following Premier Doug Ford’s ‘Phase One’ announcement Thursday in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an officials statement released by the City of London, Fanshawe Golf Course and Thames Valley Golf Course will reopen on Saturday, May 16.

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River Road Golf Course will remain closed until further notice. Mayor Ed Holder says this is due to the golf course’s proximity to low water, as well as the rainy weather lately.

The city says a marshal will be present at each golf course to ensure all COVID-19 safety practices and procedures are being followed, and to answer any questions players may have.

New policies and procedures include not allowing members and guests to arrive more than 20 minutes prior to their designated tee time, clubhouse washrooms may only be used by one person at a time, and golfers must not touch the flagstick.

READ MORE: What’s open and closed in London Ont., over May long weekend

Brad Adams, the general manager of Sunningdale Golf and Country Club says it felt like “Christmas morning” when he heard the news that golf courses could reopen soon.

He told Devon Peacock on 980 CFPL’s Morning Show Friday that people started calling to book tee-times starting at 1:31 p.m. Thursday, just “one minute after [Ford’s announcement].”
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“You never know — with the climate out here, and with the [COVID-19 pandemic]… We’re very fortunate as an industry that we’ve been allowed to move forward and operate safely.”

Adams says he’s expecting to see a surge of golfers this summer thanks to the sport’s ability to allow players to distant themselves from others while reconnecting with nature.

READ MORE: City, fire officials remind Londoners to follow firework, COVID-19 guidelines Victoria Day weekend

Alon Shatil, the managing partner at East Park London says he’s expecting a popular reopening as well.

“People are itching to get outside, and there’s an emotional and mental component of people having spent so much time indoors and at home alone that I think the opportunity to participate in an outdoor safe activity is going to be very welcomed.”

Coronavirus: Stage one of reopening Ontario economy beginning
Coronavirus: Stage one of reopening Ontario economy beginning

He says staff at the golf course have kept busy over the past few weeks as the waited for Saturday to come.

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“We’ve minimized the number of staff, and just doing what we need to do to maintain the golf course, so once we get the word that the course is ready to [reopen], we’re ready to go.”

“I think this is the right time.”

The City of London says members’ accounts will automatically be credited with the difference in the amended seasonal membership cost due to the delayed start to the season.

To request to have any account credits refunded back, golfers are asked to contact customer service at recreation@london.ca.

Coronavirus: Seasonal activities to reopen over the weekend in Ontario
Coronavirus: Seasonal activities to reopen over the weekend in Ontario

The forecast is calling for a wet and cloudy weekend in London, according to Environment Canada.

London Ont.’s weather for the Victoria Day long weekend.
London Ont.’s weather for the Victoria Day long weekend. Environment Canada

In addition to golf courses reopening for the weekend, off-leash dog parks are set to reopen Tuesday.

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The city says this includes Campbell Memorial Park Dog Off-Leash Area, Caesars Off-Leash Area, Greenway Off-Leash Area, Pottersburg-FIDO Off-Leash Area, and Stoney Creek Off-Leash Area.