While open fairways may seem like an ideal place to practise social distancing as other sports and recreation areas close in the effort to contain COVID-19, the Sunshine Coast’s golf courses have been forced to severely curtail operations.
The board of directors of the Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club at Roberts Creek decided to close the club “indefinitely, until further notice,” in accordance with the provincial public health officer’s March 16 order to restrict gatherings of more than 50 people. The club’s annual general meeting scheduled for April 5 has been postponed.
As of March 23, Pender Harbour Golf Club’s greens and driving range remained open, but its board of directors was expected to convene in the near future to vote on whether to continue operating, according to pro shop attendant Glen Sernyk. Rental equipment isn’t available, social distancing is being enforced and the club’s restaurant has also shut its doors. “It’s very, very disruptive,” Sernyk said, adding, “Our members are grateful for the opportunity to continue to be able to use the facility.”
In an update March 24, Blue Ocean Golf Club in Sechelt said “pressure is mounting from various sources to close the golf course,” but it is still booking tee times and keeping the driving range open. The bar and restaurant is closed, rental golf clubs aren’t available, cash isn’t accepted and physical distancing is in effect at the golf shop. Its sold-out junior spring break camp has been cancelled and advance bookings have been restricted “to limit attendance on our property to 50 players at any one time.”
An update on its website also warned members, “Given these new restrictions, tee times will rapidly become the new toilet paper. Please don’t hoard.”
Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum has also encouraged golfers to stay home during the pandemic.