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What will golf look like in the new normal?

'If they allow us to operate we have a huge responsibility to protect our staff, to protect our customers, and protect society'
20200230 Osprey Links
Osprey Links Golf course. Photo submitted.

Editor's note: This afternoon the government announced starting May 4, golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public.

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Jeff Rogerson says he is waiting patiently to find out how his golf course will be able to proceed.  

Provinces such as B.C. have never closed golf courses while provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland/Labrador are expecting to open on May 15.  

But here in Ontario, a timeframe for golf courses has not been released. 

"There are so many unknowns," said Rogerson, general manager at Osprey Links Golf Course in Callander. 

"Whatever the guidelines are, I think every operator in the country will be more than willing to do their part."

Rogerson can only speculate as to what golf in the new normal will look like in the "new normal." But he has been keeping a close eye on some of the things other golf courses are planning to do in the other provinces.   

One key change he sees will take foot in Ontario is spreading out tee times from 10 minutes apart to 20 minutes.  

"There are discussions that if carts are involved, only one per cart unless they are members of the immediate family then they could share a cart," he said.  

"No rental equipment because they do not want people sharing equipment because it has not been sanitized correctly."

He says the food and beverage services inside the clubhouse will certainly be hit.  

"Of course, no gatherings, no public use of the facility and bathrooms allowing only one person in at a time," said Rogerson.  

"There will be no clubhouse activity. They are asking people to arrive just prior to their tee time so wait in their car until their call to the tee and once they finish their game there is no social afterwards. Once you are done, please go home."

With golf being such a social activity, those restrictions will be tough for some. However, Rogerson believes at least it's something.  

"It certainly will be tough and different but it is better than nothing," he said. 

"It is a small sacrifice to make to be able to play."

Economically that will be a hit as golf courses which pride themselves on hosting golf events - many for charity - may not be able to do so at all this spring, summer or fall.  

"We derive a lot of our income from events that we won't be allowed to host at least for the foreseeable future," said Rogerson 

"I think we have to respect the fact that the government has a pretty large responsibility to protect people and we will patiently wait for them to give us the green light."

The good news for local golfers is that many golf courses in the region could not open yet anyhow and that includes Osprey Links. 

Like many Ontario golf courses, Rogerson is hoping to weather the COVID-19 storm literally and figuratively. 

"If they allow us to operate we have a huge responsibility to protect our staff, to protect our customers, and protect society." 


Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with BayToday.ca since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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