Golf season delayed by COVID-19 closures

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THUNDER BAY – City golfers who plan to visit their favorite course in the coming weeks will need to keep their golf bags in the garage.

Golf courses are part of the province’s mandatory closure of non-essential workplaces to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

On Monday, the government also ordered the closure of all outdoor recreational facilities.

Some critics have argued that golf courses have enough space to allow people to participate safely while having fresh air and exercise.

Former PGA Tour player Ian Leggatt, now golf manager at a Toronto area course, disagrees.

“No one knows more than I need golf as a sales outlet, but save a life and stay away,” said Leggatt in a recent tweet.

At the Thunder Hills Dragon Hills Golf and Golf Course on Onion Lake Road, owner Mike Komar said he agreed with the province’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“If we can’t open, we obviously won’t … having everyone at a distance will only do good for everyone,” said Komar.

At the same time, he believes that golf could be done safely if precautions were taken.

“Obviously, we can’t have everyone at the clubhouse, and we can’t have tournaments … but they should be able to follow the course and play,” Komar said in an interview on Wednesday.

“You’re not going to be less than six feet from each other anyway,” he said.

Komar said golf carts could be limited to one person in order to maintain social distance.

No matter what happens, he works to prepare the golf course and keep it in shape every time he is allowed to let the players go.

In the meantime, he said, “I will have a private golf course for myself and two other guys. We can play golf by ourselves. “

Emerald Greens owner Jack Watson has also started planning his route to Dawson Road for an open date.

“We will remain stable and we hope things will change and that we can open up as soon as possible,” said Watson.

He said he would like to see the government come up with a plan for the golf courses.

“I think it would be a good recreation for people in this situation in less than five groups,” added Watson. “People have to get out of the house. It’s too long to be locked up. “

However, he said most golfers seemed to understand the situation at the moment, even though they were “trying to get by” to hit the links in early May.

The City of Thunder Bay operates two golf courses, Chapples and Strathcona.

Although he now only brings essential workers to his workplaces, Cory Halvorsen, director of parks and open spaces, said the city will ensure that the necessary maintenance is carried out on its golf courses for as long as necessary.

“All of the early year activities we need to do to make sure the greens are in good shape … and as we enter the growing season, that will also include cut grass,” said Halvorsen.

He noted that provincial restrictions related to COVID-19 change daily.

“We want to be ready to move on. Right now, our number one priority is ensuring essential maintenance, and we have enough staff to do it. All operational considerations would follow provincial orders and the required personnel would follow that. “



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