I've been an MGS member for ten years, but it's been awhile since I've posted, and I'm not sure I've ever created a new topic on here, so I'll apologize in advance if it's not as well structured as some of my previous posts!
I learned today that there is at least one golf course open in all 50 states here in the US. I'm not sure how many courses were closed internationally, but I know that every part of the world is responding in different ways to the pandemic. Since golf, from the perspective of the sport, is the perfect model of social distancing, it always seemed like the best choice for an activity to re-start (assuming it ever stopped in the first place).
I live in Southern California and one of the great things about living here is that, until COVID-19, there was never a reason to close any of the courses. Places where there are heavy rains, months of snow/ice, or any other factors that are less predictable (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, volcanoes) are more "used to" the idea of shutting the course down for a few days, weeks, or even months!
I thought I'd start this topic off by telling you what's going on in my neck of the woods. I'd like to hear if your courses have done something different, as well as whether you think that what was done here (or where you are) could be improved, and whether you think more can be done (or if what is being done seems ridiculous, or is going TOO FAR!!).
I have three local public courses that I play pretty regularly. I say that to point out that I don't have a "home course", or one course that I play much more often than any other. Having said that, I'll just tell you what they did at the course I played first when the County was allowed to start back up.
1. Motorized golf carts are only allowed if you have a handicap sticker, and they are limited to one person per cart. I wasn't upset by this, but I always like having the option if I'm feeling lazy!
2. They set up the pro shop so that there is only one way in and one way out. This was a nice idea, but I didn't realize how strict they were going to be about this, and I ended up leaving my clubs (already loaded onto my push cart) outside the pro shop. When I left, since I was only allowed to go ONE WAY, I wasn't able to get back to my clubs! I had to walk all the way around the building and then "start over" by walking through the pro shop in order to collect my gear. I feel like this confusion/headache could be fixed by on-course signage, warnings on the course website, and by good old (socially distanced) word-of-mouth.
3. They suspended all on-course food/beverage service. This was noted on the website, so players can plan around it, but there is a limit to the amount of stuff you can carry onto a golf course, especially if you usually would have loaded a cooler or lunch bag into that convenient box on the back of the motorized golf cart you can't have!!!
4. This is a direct follow-up to the above... this course has a big water jug by the tee box of every third hole or so. They removed all jugs and have no water available to players. I ran out of water on the 7th hole and just had to tough it out. I feel like having the water available is a safety issue. If everybody is going to be forced to walk 18 (and this course is kind of spread out and has a bunch of pretty steep hills to climb), then the players need easy access to drinking water. I gotta say that this one made me pretty miserable last week.
5. They removed all of the benches on the course "to discourage congregating"! This one made me mad because I never felt like I saw anybody CONGREGATING on the golf course. If they WERE congregating it was on that one par-3 and the marshals aren't doing their jobs very well! On the fourth hole, when it was still wet out from the morning dew/marine layer, I needed to adjust my shoes and re-tie them. This meant I had to choose between the muddy cart path or the very wet grass to fix my shoes. Again - not a major issue, but COME ON, PEOPLE!
6. They bought a couple of those foam "pool noodles" and cut them into 2-3 inch long sections and put them into the golf holes to prevent people from needing to remove the flagstick in order to retrieve the ball from the bottom of the cup. This is the only thing so far that I kind of like. Ever since they changed the rule to say you don't have to remove the flag, more and more people are leaving them in when they play. I personally hate leaving the flag in when I putt. I also don't want to make a stink about it on the course, so I just put up with it... but pulling the ball from the hole with my big, stupid hands, was a problem. The foam thing fixes that!
7. They closed all the putting/chipping areas. Why? WHY? WHYYYYYY??? I get that they want to discourage 'congregating', but I think that they need to treat us like adults. We know the new rules, we know what's expected of us.... just let us putt a few balls and trust us not to stop and cough into somebody's face for a few minutes.
I think that's all I've got to say for now. I can't remember any other specific changes that have happened here locally.
What's going on in your neck of the woods?