Sylvan Lake golf course says it can operate with safe, touch-free changes

Sylvan Lake golf course says it can operate with safe, touch-free changes

Golf is currently deemed a non-essential service are impacted by government regulations

As the snow melts and golf season approached courses around Alberta are hoping to see golfers out on the fairways this season.

Currently, golf is deemed a non-essential service and must remain closed as they are impacted by Alberta government’s regulations.

READ MORE: Alberta golf industry lobbies to open courses amid COVID-19 pandemic

Joel Masikewich, superintendent at Meadowlands Golf Club, says golf should never be considered an essential service as it is not essential to live such as grocery stores or hospitals, but people should still be able to play golf.

“We provide both physical and mental health in this time to get people outside, to enjoy nature, to get them away from staring at four walls in their house,” said Masikewich.

Golf as an industry, he says, believes it can facilitate operation in a manor that provides social distancing and follows all the Alberta government requirements put in place to ensure everyone is safe and healthy.

He explained if the club was allowed to open they would follow the recommendations sent out by the Alberta Golf Superintendents Association (AGSA) and the Canada Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA).

“With that there would be no bunker rakes, there’d be no ball washers and there would be no benches or anything like that, basically just trying to alleviate all touch points out on the course,” explained Masikewich.

Additionally, golfers would not be able to touch the flag poles and cups would be turned upside down to prevent balls from falling into them.

The ball would bounce off the cups and if it hits the cup and remains within 10 feet it would be considered good.

Masikewich says they would also reduce the amount of people in the carts.

“It would be a single cart operator or if golfers come together who live together and arrive in together to the course in the same car they’d be able to drive in the same cart,” he clarified.

The clubhouse for payment and bathrooms would be limited to a single person, and no bathrooms will be out on the course.

What exactly will happen with food and beverages if the club opens is still undecided.

As per CGSA and AGSA recommendation the driving range and putting green will not open.

“If we were to get the go-ahead top open, and the snow was all gone because we still have two feet of snow, it would look completely different from previous years,” Masikewich said.

A petition on change.org asks the government to change their mind on the ruling has collected over 40,000 signatures.

Masikewich says they have permission form the Alberta government to keep the grounds healthy and maintained throughout the closure.

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