Dear Friends of GolfNorth,
We have compiled answers to a list of frequently asked questions that we hope will address most of your concerns regarding the upcoming golf season, as it relates to the COVID-19 crisis. As you know, this situation is currently changing on a regular basis, sometimes by the hour.
The answers to the questions below are subject to change at any time, based upon the most recent information available:
Q. When do you anticipate opening your Ontario golf courses?
Golf courses in virtually all U.S. states, along with British Columbia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are currently open. Golf Courses are scheduled to open May 2nd in Alberta, May 4th in Manitoba, May 11th in Newfoundland and Labrador and May 15th in Saskatchewan. Given the recent statements by Quebec’s Premier, golf courses in Quebec will most likely open by mid-May. In light of this barrage of course openings throughout North America, and although the Ontario government has yet to provide an exact date for opening its golf courses, we are optimistic that we will be permitted to open by mid to late May.
Q. Is it safe to play golf during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Golf essentially consists of a 10 or 20 km-controlled walk through 100 to 200 acres of nature. During those two to four hours of enjoyable, healthy activity, each foursome of golfers is typically ½ km away from the next group. Within the foursome itself, golfers have no trouble at all maintaining their distancing in such open spaces. Please see the attached link to comments made by Dr. Bonnie Henry (British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer) on April 29, 2020, at which time she noted that the risk of Covid-19 transmission is significantly reduced while outdoors.
Q. Will the clubhouses be open?
At this time, except for washroom facilities, we anticipate that clubhouses will remain closed.
Q. Will you be accepting cash as a payment type?
Non-cash payments will be preferred but we will continue to accept cash provided government regulations do not prohibit cash payments at golf courses once we are permitted to open.
Q. Will “walk-ons” be permitted or will only golfers with booked tee times be permitted to play?
During the first few weeks of operation, “walk-ons” will not be permitted. Only golfers will pre-arranged tee times will be authorized to play.
Q. Will customers be required to pre-pay for their tee times?
Unless mandated by the government, pre-paid tee times shall not be required. We are currently preparing pre-paid bulk green fee pass packages for each Ontario golf course, which will offer the best value for green fee players, allow golfers to pre-pay online and streamline the registration process at the golf course.
Q. Are the courses currently being maintained?
All our courses are currently being maintained and will be ready to open on very short notice once the Province provides a “green light” to open.
Q. Will outdoor washrooms be available?
Initially, outdoor washrooms will not be available.
Q. What will happen with my membership since the season has been delayed?
Once we have a specific opening date, we will provide our members with some options to ensure they receive full value for their abbreviated golf season. Details in terms of options, the amount of credit available for each type of membership, and the redemption process itself shall be provided later this month.
Q. Will pull carts and power carts be available?
Unless mandated otherwise by the government, pull and power carts will be available. Many other jurisdictions are allowing only single riders in golf carts, unless the two proposed riders reside at the same address.
Q. What steps will be taken to protect the health and safety of golfers given the Covid-19 crisis?
There will be a significant list of protocols that must be followed by both staff and golfers once our courses have opened for play. This list will not be finalized until the Province authorizes golf courses to open and publishes the mandatory protocols that courses must follow.
GolfNorth’s Salmon Arm Golf Club in British Columbia opened for play on Tuesday, April 28th. Please see the attached link for a video illustrating the protocols currently in place at Salmon Arm Golf Club during this epidemic.
Q. Will I be required to play with golfers I do not know?
While the short answer is “no”, the longer answer is that “you might be”. While some golfers may want to avoid playing with golfers they do not know, this might not be practical on days with high demand. Provided social distancing measures are maintained, this does not present any additional risk to golfers.
Q. Will Food and Beverage be available?
The food and beverage operations will be required to follow government protocols applicable to restaurant operations. We expect that “grab and go” food and beverage items will be available but, again, this dependant on the applicable government limitations in place once we open.