Alberta golf courses adjust to latest COVID-19 restrictions

Victoria Park golf course in Edmonton River Valley on Thursday, April 1, 2021. Eric Beck, Global News

Alberta golf courses and those who enjoy the sport have begun adjusting to the province’s latest restrictions.

As part of numerous measures implemented to combat rising COVID-19 numbers, the province announced last week that starting Monday, golfers would only be allowed to play with members of the same household, with two close contacts if a person lives alone.

Golfers can also golf alone if tee times are available for singles.

“People are saying, ‘Well, my wife doesn’t golf so that means I can’t golf.’ If they want to golf, they have to play as a single — golf’s really not about playing by yourself,” Mill Wood Golf Club executive director Darrell McDonald said.

“People who have spouses that don’t play are between a rock and a hard place right now to play golf.”

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Read more: Schools go online as Alberta adds more COVID-19 restrictions for 3 weeks

Indoor and outdoor golf lessons, as well as chipping and putting greens, are also closed.

Details of the latest restrictions caused confusion and frustration among courses and golfers.

“My concern is that the premier goes on TV every week and says that he’s concerned that people aren’t following the rules. Well, whenever you set rules it’s important that they make sense, that people understand them,” Avid golfer Glenn Morris said.

“What I don’t understand is that I can’t walk down the fairway here with one person, but I can walk down the park across the street with four people,” he added, referring to Albertans still being allowed to gather outdoors with as many as four people outside their household.

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On Friday, Premier Jason Kenney said he would ask Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw to review the golf restrictions.

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“The greatest risk, of course, when it comes to golf would be folks assembling for post-game adult refreshment in the clubhouse and socializing indoors,” Kenney said.

McDonald said he feels the latest measures for golf courses feels like a backwards step, but he said the first day under the new restrictions at Mill Woods Golf Club went fairly smooth as golfers and staff are beginning to understand the new rules.

Read more: Alberta reports another 1,597 cases of COVID-19 Monday, 158 in ICU

“We’ve been doing this close to a year now. Booking procedures are a little different right now with online compared to what we used to be, so people are catching on with what’s going on pretty quickly,” he said.

The government said the restrictions will stay in place for at least three weeks, until after the May long weekend.

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