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Is Golf Available Where You Live? (COVID-19 Edition)

COVID-19 and Golf  

225 members have voted

  1. 1. Are golf courses near you open for play? (Please change your vote as the situation changes.)

    • Almost all are open.
      105
    • Some golf courses are still open for play.
      59
    • No golf courses near me are open for play due to COVID-19.
      61
  2. 2. What modifications have golf courses that are open for play made? Select all that apply.

    • Limited restaurant/pro shop/clubhouse access.
      113
    • No indoor access at all.
      66
    • Removed ball washers and/or rakes from the course.
      146
    • Tee times spaced further apart.
      72
    • Carts limited to single riders.
      104
    • No carts at all - walking only.
      44
    • Raised cups or foam or PVC inserts to minimize contact with the flagstick/hole.
      143
    • Plentiful hand sanitizer solutions.
      31
    • Only members can play - course is closed to guests.
      21
    • Contact reduced or eliminated - payments handled solely online or by phone.
      65
    • Modifications to group size - twosomes only, threesomes only, family members only, etc.
      18
    • Course is closed.
      67


953 posts / 45807 viewsLast Reply

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Here in Maryland the courses are open with some guidelines to follow as of August.  They are busier then ever and the courses have all raised prices and removed the ability to purchase a 9 hole round regardless of the time of day.  For some reason the coronavirus has effected the ability to play and pay for a 9 hole round.  We have foam in the cups (does any of this have any scientific basis behind it?) 

The one thing that bothers me the most is the termination of all of the tournaments and events.  All of my favorite summer tourneys have been cancelled.  I am not sure I understand the point of this as we are all out golfing anyway.  Anyhow, I am looking forward to a time when I can walk up to the starter without wearing a mask and making sure that when I have to sneeze, cough, or fart that I don't have to run into the woods so no one hears me and freaks out.  

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We’ve been open and busier than ever.  Used to average 200 people per day on a weekday and more on weekends.  Now we hit 400 during the week ( because nobody works ) and 300 on weekends.   
 

Carts are out of control.  People share, we don’t have enough for individual plus lie to get their own carts.  They claim Covid fears but come in the same car and don’t wear a mask in the proshop.  We do $3000 plus in carts/day.  Nobody walks, and it’s a shortish flat course.

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I have boycotted playing in some of the courses that have been price gauging due to increased demand.  One particular course increased their fee by 20%, which is much more than their usual annual increase.  I used to play that course at least once every other week, but I have refused to play this year.

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27 minutes ago, Yukari said:

I have boycotted playing in some of the courses that have been price gauging due to increased demand.  One particular course increased their fee by 20%, which is much more than their usual annual increase.  I used to play that course at least once every other week, but I have refused to play this year.

You can't blame them though, can you? It'd be dumb in a lot of ways not to raise prices if you're full/selling out.

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17 minutes ago, iacas said:

You can't blame them though, can you? It'd be dumb in a lot of ways not to raise prices if you're full/selling out.

My friend is building a new house and wants to put in a new swimming pool.   One company that does pools told him they were booked until late 2021.   He asked for a quote.   Over the phone the guy quoted him $45k, when he received the paper work it was $48k.   My friend called to find out why the difference.   The pool guy stated that they were so busy that they could name their price and they were.  

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

You can't blame them though, can you? It'd be dumb in a lot of ways not to raise prices if you're full/selling out.

In fairness most of the courses around here are still operating with reduced tee times, say 12 minute intervals when their normal is 10. That said, total rounds are way up around here. Great for pace of play I must add.

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

You can't blame them though, can you? It'd be dumb in a lot of ways not to raise prices if you're full/selling out.

No you can't.

But there are plenty of other courses that are not price gouging.  So I tend to stick to those places.

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I have not a spring/summer in Florida this busy (at golf courses) in about 20 years. Maybe not ever.

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Courses in my Summer area are all open.  Really busy some days, not so busy others.  Just like normal. 

It is a tourist area, and tourism is way down because COVID has spiked, and there are a lot of golf course relative to the reduced tourism.

What's strange is at the course where I used to play in Members' Only Men's Day, where they used to have 10 to 12 groups, now they normally only have four, and have to do threesomes to get that.

I asked one regular whose name I don't see on the tee times any more, and he said he's playing, just not in Men's Day.  

So, I haven't figured out why that is down.

I plan on playing next week . . . first time since before the lockdown in March.

Edited by Ole Duffer

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<rant>

One course I frequent often (my "home" in the Birdies Challenge) did several things after reopening. Each one may not be bad per se, but the combination is painful, to me and I am sure many others.

1. They no longer renew their pre-paid rounds cards, which was giving a discount, from $32 to $25 to walk after 11:00am on week-days. I was using that. They had to honor whatever was left on the cards, but under the guise of the pro-shop is closed, and we won't touch the cards to limit the virus transmission, they won't renew them. So, mine ran out 2 or 3 weeks after they re-opened in May. Strike 1

2. They raised their mid-day rate (was $32 as I mentioned) to $38, many times more than the typical $2 or $3 they raise the rates by every year.  The senior rate is now $33, up from $28, is good all day and starts at age 62. I am just over 61 and don't qualify, yet.  Strike 2

3. They pushed the threshold of the mid-day rate from 11:00am to 1:30pm. There are plenty of wide-open tee times between noon and 1:30, so they obviously overdid it. Strike 3

4. I wrote the general manager to complain about all this and that my rate had nearly doubled since before the COVID shutdown, as the walking rate at 11:00 is now $43 (up from $36 regular tee times before the shutdown). My cost went from $25 to $43 in the space of two months. Add that when it gets above 95F, a cart (not shared) is pretty much necessary, and that's another $16.  We have had several weeks of 100F weather and more is around the corner...

FYI, the guy never bothered responding.  Some classy operation! It's too bad because I like the course, the conditions and the staff.

You will also note that when "golf was in decline", courses closing and old guys not coming as much, and young ones not partaking in the game in big numbers, guys like me are what kept the lights on and those places running. This is what we get in return. Btw, I only expected him to respond and grandfather me as a senior... because I am at a number of other places. Heck, maybe I'll write him another note and just ask him to do just that.

</rant>

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Only $699 for a set of 18. And it's huge, and people will constantly be touching it to move it out of the way. And for $699, they could give you two extras or something, for breakage…

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21 minutes ago, iacas said:

Only $699 for a set of 18.

Looks like a terrible design, surprising they are going through the effort to apply for a patent. I played in a tournament a couple months ago, and they had a device installed on all the holes that was a sleeve over the flagstick that had a tab that the player could lift with their putter to pop the ball out of the hole. Much better than a pool noodle, and certainly better than this thing. No idea how much they cost.

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14 minutes ago, Darkfrog said:

Looks like a terrible design, surprising they are going through the effort to apply for a patent. I played in a tournament a couple months ago, and they had a device installed on all the holes that was a sleeve over the flagstick that had a tab that the player could lift with their putter to pop the ball out of the hole. Much better than a pool noodle, and certainly better than this thing. No idea how much they cost.

I’ve seen the sleeves. They’re best if you must do this.

Clubs around here abandoned that flagstick stuff a month or two ago. Not all. Four or five.

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8 minutes ago, iacas said:

Clubs around here abandoned that flagstick stuff a month or two ago. Not all. Four or five.

Considering that there is evidence that surface transmission is low risk, I don't get why the pool noodles/sleeves are still a thing.

It seems like courses could either just require putting with the flagstick in, but no pool noodles or sleeves - I doubt there is going to be significant risk of transmission reaching into the cup to retrieve a ball. Or go back to normal, and to put peoples minds at ease, have a course marshal wipe down the flagsticks with alcohol or bleach solution every couple hours or something.

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20 minutes ago, Darkfrog said:

Considering that there is evidence that surface transmission is low risk, I don't get why the pool noodles/sleeves are still a thing.

It seems like courses could either just require putting with the flagstick in, but no pool noodles or sleeves - I doubt there is going to be significant risk of transmission reaching into the cup to retrieve a ball. Or go back to normal, and to put peoples minds at ease, have a course marshal wipe down the flagsticks with alcohol or bleach solution every couple hours or something.

From a liability standpoint, the safest thing for a golf club to do is to follow the USGA guidelines, which still recommend not touching flagsticks or rakes without immediate sanitizing afterwards.  Its certainly not unreasonable to suggest that these measures are excessively conservative, they're certaing erring on the safer side as opposed to the (marginally) riskier side.

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/images/course-care/covid-19-resource-center/back2golf/back2golf_operations_playbook-version4-0-june10-2020.pdf

 

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13 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

From a liability standpoint, the safest thing for a golf club to do is to follow the USGA guidelines, which still recommend not touching flagsticks or rakes without immediate sanitizing afterwards.  Its certainly not unreasonable to suggest that these measures are excessively conservative, they're certaing erring on the safer side as opposed to the (marginally) riskier side.

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/images/course-care/covid-19-resource-center/back2golf/back2golf_operations_playbook-version4-0-june10-2020.pdf

 

Right, I understand the conservative approach for liability and health risks, and have no problem with it (I'm just happy that golf is available). It's also smart to err on the conservative side when death is potential outcome, so when something is low risk, and there is potential to make it zero risk, that's not a bad thing. I putt with the flagstick in, so it really hasn't impacted the way I play at all. On the other hand, there are routine activities that we mostly all partake in, like opening mail, pumping gas, and grocery shopping, that involve high touch surfaces, so by comparison, pulling flagsticks/reaching into the cup to retrieve a ball don't aren't things that stand out as necessary safeguards.

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33 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

From a liability standpoint, the safest thing for a golf club to do is to follow the USGA guidelines, which still recommend not touching flagsticks or rakes without immediate sanitizing afterwards.  Its certainly not unreasonable to suggest that these measures are excessively conservative, they're certaing erring on the safer side as opposed to the (marginally) riskier side.

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/images/course-care/covid-19-resource-center/back2golf/back2golf_operations_playbook-version4-0-june10-2020.pdf

The USGA isn't exactly up with recent science, and a golfer would never be able to prove that he or she got COVID from touching a flagstick, especially if you're the one choosing to touch the flagstick. Carry around a few wipes or sanitize your hands after touching the flagstick if you don't agree with the science.

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3 minutes ago, Darkfrog said:

Right, I understand the conservative approach for liability and health risks, and have no problem with it (I'm just happy that golf is available). It's also smart to err on the conservative side when death is potential outcome, so when something is low risk, and there is potential to make it zero risk, that's not a bad thing. I putt with the flagstick in, so it really hasn't impacted the way I play at all. On the other hand, there are routine activities that we mostly all partake in, like opening mail, pumping gas, and grocery shopping, that involve high touch surfaces, so by comparison, pulling flagsticks/reaching into the cup to retrieve a ball don't aren't things that stand out as necessary safeguards.

I use a paper towel when I pump gas.  Saw a guy the other day at the pumps with full mask and face shield (nobody within 35 feet of him) using his bare hand on the nozzle handle.  Then got in his car without using hand sanitizer.

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