The 18th hole at the Quail. (Photo: Okanagan Golf Club)

The 18th hole at the Quail. (Photo: Okanagan Golf Club)

Okanagan golf clubs stay the course but amp up COVID-19 cleaning protocols

From removing rakes to cutting off retail, courses look to provide isolation-friendly options

Golfing might not be the first go-to option that comes to mind during a pandemic, but with isolation measures getting steeper, Okanagan courses are hoping that the isolate-friendly sport can remain an option going into the coming months.

While the provincial government has strongly urged events and restaurants of 50 or more people to close, golfing provides a unique option of plenty of personal space, fresh air and plenty of distance.

“We’re limiting club house access, moving away from using cash, all those steps,” said Okanagan Golf Course general manager Dan Matheson.

“You realize that golf courses are popular places to be during all this. Though we’re not open until April 9, cleaning has already taken place and we’re constantly messaging our members. Tee times will be staggered, certain touch points (golf carts, flags, rakes etc.) are being taken away for the limited opportunity of spread.”

READ MORE: Three new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Interior Health, bringing total to 12

Matheson said that both the Quail and the Bear courses are adhering to all protocols and recommendations that are coming from the provincial and federal government and if anything changes, the course will follow through.

“No where can truly 100 per cent virus-proof their facility. It’s a very dynamic situation and hopefully golf will continue to be a safe sport.”

READ MORE: Donating in the Okanagan during COVID-19 made easy by online charity service

At the Kelowna Golf and Country Club, general manager David Walker has extended protocols to mitigate the risks of coronavirus spread, including cancelling all events and limiting access to just club members.

“They’re extensive (measures) but for the most part the mood is fairly positive for our golfers. They enjoy being outside and it’s fairly safe and we’re doing our part to make sure it stays safe,” said Walker.

Details as obscure as decreasing the size of the cup on the greens have been taken as well as the main concerns of shutting down the pro shop, restaurant and increasing sanitation staff.

But with constant updates coming from government health officials, it’s tough to know where the golf courses will lay in a week’s time.

“There’s so much uncertainty,” said Walker.

“We’ll continue to restrict and monitor things until we’re told otherwise. You can’t make promises and we don’t know how long this will be, but we’ll do the best we can.”

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