Alberta golf courses expecting the game to be almost over


The tarps have been removed from the greens.

The pins would have been inserted.

With melted snow and teenage temperatures, some Alberta golf courses could have, under normal circumstances, been opened last week.

“The phone starts ringing and I think the longer it lasts, the more it will happen,” said Chris McNicol of the empty clubhouse at the Woodside Golf Course in Airdrie, where he is the operations manager for the 18- hole lair which would have been ready to welcome members and public actors on Wednesday. “We always get calls from people who say,” Hey, when do you open? “Some people don’t really understand that we are also part of the health care order. This is part of the reason I’m here on Sunday – just to make sure no one sneaks onto our property to play golf. “

Those in the Alberta golf industry hope that the fairways and greens will not be empty for long.

Like so many other non-essential recreational facilities and businesses, classes are currently closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They ask for an exemption, ready to implement the incentive parking model, and adhere to a long list of security measures to ensure that players can rip readers and read putts while respecting the personal space necessary for prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

“We believe we will receive positive news from the provincial government this week,” said Bruce McAllister, a former Member of Parliament who works as a spokesperson and strategist for the Alberta chapter of the National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA). “Their stimulus strategy will be announced this week, and we are encouraged that they recognize the value, that they recognize that you can play golf safely and on social media. Golf will therefore hopefully be among the first wave of reopenings.

“I imagine they will focus on the great outdoors, where people can get out and distance themselves safely. Golf is sort of a no-brainer to be one of the first to go. “

The grounds maintenance workers were declared essential, and the turf maintenance staff were certainly busy last week with the long-awaited arrival of spring.

Murray McCourt, general manager of Ranch Golf & Country Club, said Wednesday would have been the opening day of this popular public network just one kilometer from the city limits of Edmonton. They altered the cups so that the ball barely dropped below ground level, and a greeter would have waited at the front entrance to make sure the golfers had booked a tee and were aware of the rules and expectations.

Slade King, chief operating officer of Play Golf Calgary, Links of Gleneagles and Blue Devil, was ready to dig divines on Thursday, with HeatherGlen and Serenity a few days behind. They ordered special levers to retrieve your ball from the hole with just the use of a putter.

The debate over gender parity during a pandemic has been a hot topic in Alberta – home to over 300 golf courses – and it is unlikely to change, especially now that Mother Nature is playing well.

After a prolonged winter wave, it was the first weekend that the loss of income could not be attributed to the weather.

“We are just waiting for the green light to be able to open up and have guests safely back on the golf course,” said McCourt. “We are obviously concerned about the health and safety of everyone. But the golf industry in Alberta and in Canada and around the world has really come up with all kinds of best practices to keep golf course customers and staff safe, and social distancing is extremely easy on a golf course .

“With so many needs right now to be able to go out and be outside and for physical and mental health, golf is something that can be very useful and be part of the solution for many people.”

Turning his attention to the economic impact, McCourt added, “We know we are not alone. The vast majority of industries suffer tremendously, and we are certainly no exception. “

Golf has received the green light in British Columbia. In fact, there were birdies and bogeys on two trails in the Columbia Valley – less than a three-hour drive from Calgary – last weekend.

Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe announced that levee diggers would be allowed to hit the links on May 15, but with a long list of warrants – including high cups, 20-minute time intervals between departure and that all toilets on the course must remain closed.

According to a map updated by Golf Advisor, gaming is now licensed in 39 of the 50 states in the United States.

“It has proven to be extremely safe. There is evidence that people can stop, play a full turn and leave without ever getting closer than two meters away, “said King, adding that at the four properties at Play Golf Calgary, staff will be parked. in the toilet to be disinfected after each use. “So we are ready. We are ready. We can do it very thoughtfully and very safely. “

But not before the provincial health authorities give the green light.

“I think the weather is getting warmer, the temperature will also be raised on the government,” said McAllister. “I think the government is feeling it. I think they understand it. I think they want to do the right thing. The bonus for us is that we have created the most comprehensive protocol and set of directives in the country. The Alberta golf course is ready to play because of them. The government has this protocol in hand.

“We could open tomorrow with the security measures we have created. We can do it safely. And I hope we can soon. “

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