Local courses keeping the green open for the public during pandemic

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020
News 12 at 11 o'clock/NBC at 12

(Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Despite not having the Masters this week, golf fans can still get out and enjoy the sport on the green themselves. And those businesses are implementing new safety measures to keep people on the course.

Many golf courses and driving ranges in Augusta are able to stay open amidst the coronavirus shutdowns because those businesses qualify as exercise under Gov. Kemp's shelter-in-place order.

Golf may not be essential to stay alive, but for these guys, it's essential to have an outlet.

"To be able to give somebody something to do instead of just being stuck behind four walls," Nick Prokosa, owner of Wedges and Woods, said.

"It gives them something to do and take their mind off of the issues that are going on right now," Robby Watson, general manager of Bartram Trail Golf Club, said.

And in order to make sure people can keep working on that short game, these owners have to make sure they're doing everything they can to keep the public safe.

"We've separated the range," Watson said.

"Cleaning baskets, cleaning golf balls," Prokosa said.

"We've restricted only two people in the shop at a time," Watson said.

"We leave our door open so nobody's having to touch the door handles," Prokosa said.

"We've also taken all the rakes, all the water coolers, all the ball washers off the golf course," Watson said.

Bartram Trail even turned the cups over, so when the ball goes in, players don't have to touch the cup to get it out.

"It's a little more work for the staff, but the staff also understands how important it is to make sure everybody stays as safe as possible," Watson said.

Watson and Prokosa say while there have been people that don't think their saftety measures will make much of a difference, most people are grateful the courses are still open.

So the next time you're out at the course, you may have to ride in a cart by yourself, stand on the taped line, or put on a glove to get some range balls.

But according to the executive orders, it's essential.

Both Watson and Prokosa told News 12 they plan to keep some of these changes even after the virus blows over.

For those looking for a nice mental break from the coronavirus and self-isolation, there are local courses that remain open.

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