More people turning to golf for outdoor recreation

June 25, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

With many sports either restricted or cancelled this summer, golf centres are seeing a rise in the number of people hitting the links.

While some are long time players, there has also been a surge in the number of people who are giving the sport a try for the first time. The fact that golf is by nature, a social distancing sport, meant it was a among the first sports given the okay by the provincial government to start seeing activity.

Tennis clubs have also been given the green light to start playing on their courts.

While golfers have been taking advantage of the good weather to get in 18 holes, there are also some restrictions when getting out on the course. Most club require reservations for tee times to keep players from congregating and keep a distance between groups while out on the fairways.

There are also some new protocols when it comes to using golf carts and equipment. 

On the greens, the holes have been replaced with covers to stop balls from dropping into the holes. Currently, hitting the cover is counted as getting your ball in the hole. This is to prevent contamination by having many different people reaching into the hole to retrieve their ball.

Lynbrook Family Golf Centre in Amaranth has been busy with a lot of golfers just wanting to get out and play.

“We opened the second week of May,” explained Lynbrook operations manager, Brooke Bailey. “We definitely enforce the physical distancing. We try get people in groups of their own family or household and we implemented several things on the course. There is something called a hole saucer on each of the holes. That raises the cup a little bit so your ball doesn’t fall into it, so its reduces the touch point. You can just pick up your ball. There’s also signage on all of the flags telling people not to removed the poles. That’s another limited touch point on the golf course. There’s always been groups of four, maximum, so that still applies.”

The very nature of golf means that social distancing is easy while on the course. The club also applies the rules to the driving range and the practice green.

“On the course it’s very easy to keep your distance from people,” Ms. Bailey said. “On the driving range, all the spots are spaced out so you are a few metres distance from the person next to you. We have extra sanitization in place. The balls have always been washed but we’ve added additional sanitation to that washing process. All the baskets, pull carts, golf clubs – we still allow people to use all that but we have a special sanitizer and we put it all through the process. The putting green has been sectioned off to four different areas. In the chipping area we allow only two people at a time.”

The lounge area and pro club at the golf course are currently closed, however, patrons can still buy accessories from the shop through the snack bar. This limits contact between people in enclosed areas. The fact that so many activities are currently limited, means golf has seen an increase in activity.

“It’s been an amazing year so far,” Ms. Bailey said. “There’s a lot more people taking up the sport for the first time and even members are coming our more frequently.”

While many sports are currently sidelined, golf is getting a lot of interest from new players looking to get outside and have some fun.

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