As golf courses start to open up across the province again, golfers will notice new protocols due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As of May 1, the Valley Course at Bear Mountain in Langford is open for public play while the Mountain Course remains members only.
Director of Golf Rob Larocque said a baseline of COVID-19 procedures was set in March as the courses remained open for members. After that, more protocols kept being added to keep staff and members safe.
“You start to realize how many touch points you have at a facility,” Larocque said. “Communication needed to be extremely fluid with our staff.”
While the courses are reopening under “extreme protocols,” Larocque said they are constantly evolving. Some of the protocols involve 15-minute tee time intervals, everyone must be on their own power carts which are sanitized with an approved food grade sanitizer, there will be no bag drop, there is no food or beverage service and green fees are pre-paid online.
Larocque said there are frequent reminder signs about protocols and physical distancing as well as sanitizer stations. Larocque said staff are excited to be open.
“We’re all very proud of our property and we want people to enjoy it … golf is a safe sport if you follow the protocols,” he said. “You don’t share golf balls or equipment, there’s acres and acres of space, so as long as people are paying attention, they can golf in a socially distant way.”
The importance of golf when it comes to helping charities has not been lost on Bear Mountain either. Larocque noted that many charities rely on golf tournaments and events to raise funds.
In order to help out, a portion of green fees collected in May at Bear Mountain goes to the COVID-19 Langford Response Team.
“Bear Mountain has always been keen on supporting the community and local charities and we’re excited to be able to still contribute and make a difference,” said Shannon Drew, vice president of corporate affairs and community initiatives at Bear Mountain.
Find a full list of protocols at bearmountain.ca/recreation/golf/book-online.
Olympic View Golf Club opens its doors to the public May 2.
A notice on the website says staff there too are monitoring the pandemic and changing protocol as needed. Bookings at Olympic View are by phone only, two days in advance with a captain for the group making the reservation for all players. More protocols are listed online at olympicviewgolf.com/golf_course/covid.