Game (or to come) for B.C. golfers impose COVID-19 restrictions

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After spending isolated weeks at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hanging out with the boys for a game of golf may seem a little strange.

This is what Cam Cole discovered when he broke clubs for the first time in a long time last week at Harvest Club in Kelowna, British Columbia, which reopened to members only with strict new rules on maintaining distance and not touch anything.

“The pro chef met us on the first tee and said,” OK guys, the rules say six feet but I would like it to be 16, because people driving on the road can see on our golf course , and there are many people who do not want golf clubs to be open. “”

Cole, an award-winning sports writer and self-described golf addict, said he felt a burden of responsibility for not messing up by inadvertently approaching a playmate or grabbing the flag stick – things that no one thought twice about but can now get you started on a course.

Or worse, have the course closed by public health officials.

“There is no, what you would call, a normal interaction: no drinks afterwards, no high-ing or handshake or any of the things you associate with what you might call a refined game . “

“The experience was awkward, but entirely achievable,” he said.

Twice in British Columbia Amateur champion Christine Wong says golf is the perfect sport for people looking to stay active and aloof during the COVID-19 era. (Shauna / Loretta / Mike / VGT)

Most fitness and recreational facilities have closed in response to physical and hygienic requirements. But due to their outdoor and open spaces, the golf courses were spared.

It is true that many closed their doors when the state of pandemic emergency was first imposed, but now they are starting to reopen, although with strict restrictions on how the game can be played.

Twice British Columbia amateur champion and Vancouver pro Christine Wong says golfers are the luckiest.

“If you want to be active … I think golf is the simplest and best thing right now,” she said.

“It is not very difficult to maintain a social distance with your play partners. The only time you can be close to others is on the play field while waiting to leave the same place. And at the end of the round instead of shaking hands you can just nod or thank them for the game, “said Wong.

Greens and hitting cages are closed as part of measures to prevent golfers from gathering at the Kelowna Springs Golf Club. (Brady Strachan / CBC)

Friday, Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health for Vancouver Coastal Health, clarified in a letter the safeguards that golf clubs must have in place, including measures to promote physical remoteness and to improve the cleaning of tactile surfaces such as rental equipment.

According to the Executive Director of the British Columbia Professional Golfers’ Association, clubs have the guidelines at heart.

“There are a lot of changes to traditional golf,” said Donald Miyazaki. “Flag sticks should not be touched, rakes are removed from bunkers, as are trash cans, bullet washers, etc. “

Miyazaki’s organization represents 670 golf pros in the province. He says clubs are further reducing the risk of coronavirus transmission by reducing quartets to three, providing more distant tee times and limiting carts to one occupant.

Self-described golf enthusiast, Cam Cole, left, has already spent a glorious day cadding for Jack Nicklaus. (Cam Cole)

According to Cole, COVID-19 even changed the raison d’être of the sport: putting the ball in the hole.

On its course, sinking a putt is no longer possible thanks to efforts to avoid the common point of contact that results from the need to catch a ball in a cup.

“There is a foam insert in the hole so that your ball never actually enters the hole,” he said.

“It’s good for me because my ball rarely goes into the hole anyway. “

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