Golf course still hopes for April opening

The TS&M Woodlawn Golf Club still hopes it can be open within the next few weeks, although a decision has not been made on an opening date for the driving range or the golf course.

Amanda Minchin, who is the head pro and general manager at the golf course, said they are following the provincial government’s restrictions that are currently in place.

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“We are doing our part right now,” Minchin told the Mercury. “Obviously we’re not open, but we have staff and managers, so we’re doing our part. People are working from home when they can, and other staff are working on their own and we’re following all the guidelines.”

Right now, they’re planning as if they’re going to open, but they don’t know what will happen. They hope to open the driving range when they can and then the golf course, but they would be taking all of the necessary precautions and following government guidelines.

“The course looks good,” said Minchin. “Bob (course superintendent Bob Currie) has been checking it; he’s been checking it the last couple of weeks. Given that we haven’t had a lot of snow cover and we were given a little bit of that freezing rain in December, he’s very happy with how things look right now.”

There was a little snow cover from some recent snowfall, but that snow won’t last long, either.

Some golf courses on the west coast have been open for the past few weeks, despite the concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. They have raised the cups in the holes so people aren’t putting the ball into the cup and then bending down to pick it up, which reduces the number of touch points.

“I think people are looking to golf as a place to be and hopefully something they can do,” said Minchin.

A golf course is outdoors and in a wide open area, but golfers are still in proximity to their playing partners and there are various touch points during an 18-hole round that the golf course would have to minimize.

That might affect renting golf clubs, or it might force people to ride in separate carts. Carts are cleaned after every round, but now they might have to be disinfected, a procedure that might have to occur several times a day.

There might also be limited access to the pro shop or the clubhouse.

The golf course has had to cancel or postpone private functions that were scheduled for the clubhouse in March and April, which will affect Woodlawn’s financial picture.

“For us, being a non-profit, we rely on those private events, those weddings and those extra things that fill our clubhouse to capacity.”

A kickoff event that was planned for April to mark their 75th anniversary has been cancelled as well. The golf course hopes to have some sort of an event later this year to mark the milestone.

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