Some Alberta golf courses open, but things look different thanks to COVID-19
CALGARY -- Golf courses across the province are slowly opening their gates, but it’s not business as usual for workers or players.
Courses are under strict regulations from Alberta's chief medial officer of health; just because they’re allowed to open, doesn’t mean they’re allowed to relax cleaning measures and distancing rules.
Play Golf Calgary, which had tee times at four courses Saturday, said there’s no exceptions.
“We were pushing very hard with the government to show them we can do this in a very safe way,” COO Slade King said.
“You’re going to play by these rules, or you’re going to leave.”
Play Golf is one of only a handful of associations that had its courses swinging back into action Saturday. Many say they aren’t ready to launch yet, thanks to a limited notice from the province.
King says even though he’d been pushing to re-open for the last month, Thursday’s announcement from the Premier caught him off guard.
“It was a shock it was so fast,” King said. “We had a day and a half (to get ready).”
Luckily for Play Golf and its customers, the group had been keeping an eye on other provinces and states that were allowing golfers to play through parts of the pandemic. That meant they partially knew what to expect.
Seven city-owned courses did not open Saturday. It’s unclear when they will.
Those who did open said their first day was a busy one.
“For every tee time we booked, we probably could have booked it ten times over this weekend,” CEO Scott Atkinson said. “We’re already booked through this week.”
Course do look a little different.
They’ve all had to adapt stringent new cleaning measures, and they’ve implemented policies like the one-to-a-cart rule that aims to keep players apart.
Golfers can’t touch the flags and there are no rakes in the sand traps.
The front gates are also being monitored, only allowing in players with bookings 15 minutes before their first shot.
Golfers CTV News Calgary spoke with say they’re a little rusty, but pleased to be out again.
“They’ll shoot 200 today and still be happy,” King said.
Most said they’re paying extra attention to COVID-19 restrictions, as they believe they’re still very necessary.
“If you’re talking in golf,” Andrew Buhaj said, “we’re on the front nine still. I don’t think we’ve made it to the back nine yet.”