Golf courses are slowly reopening in Victoria and across Vancouver Island.
Locally it’s the members-only courses that are opening first, starting with Uplands and Victoria Golf Cub in Oak Bay and Gorge Vale in Esquimalt.
Even with acres of space on each golf course, there are plenty of pinch-point situations to be navigated if golfers are going to complete a round while staying physically distanced.
Locally, Cordova Bay, Cedar Hill and Bear Mountain golf courses are not yet ready to open to the public although Mayor Fred Haynes of Saanich told the Saanich News that Cedar Hill (the region’s only municipally-owned 18-hole course) is at least being considered.
Oak Bay’s information officer Dep Hopkins said the District is not currently considering the re-opening of the Henderson Golf Course or putting area. They are aware that some local courses are beginning to open again.
Chris Elder of Golf Vancouver Island, which helps market 14 Island golf courses as a destination to the mainland, Alberta, Washington and California, said some courses are watching the member-only courses closely.
“They’re being responsible, testing it out on their membership while following requirements to see if they can operate with a small group,” Elder said. “If it’s effective we’ll start to hear more courses are open.”
Storey Creek in Campbell River and Morning Star in Parksville are open for public play. View Royal’s Highland Pacific will open to the public next week.
Elder said the messaging right now is to “stay and play in your own community.”
“We’re not encouraging [golf] travel right now, it’s the responsible thing to do,” Elder said. “We are here to share the message that [some] courses are open.”
If a golf course does want to open it can refer to B.C.’s Allied Golf Association draft report for best practices during the COVID-19 courses. Allied Golf represents a group of golf associations including B.C. Golf Association and B.C. Golf Superintendents Association.
The association is hoping the draft report will get a pass from provincial health officer, said president Trevor Smith.
“We’ve put in countless hours to put together best management practices, for outside, inside, food and beverage, and golf operations, and it’s well detailed,” Smith said.
He added the association is not encouraging golf courses to open but hopes they’ll refer to the best practices in the report if they do.
“It’s up to golf courses to stick to those parameters,” Smith said.
Suggestions include limiting golf outings to partners of two from the same household and limiting the use of power carts to single rider only (unless the users share the same household).
Flags either remain or have been modified at the base with a solution to keep the ball out without handing the pin.
Booking ahead is already a standard at most courses including Uplands.