Golf courses taking extra steps to stay open

AUGUSTA/NORTH AUGUSTA, GA/SC -- For so many people, especially around here, hitting the golf course is an escape. And it's what many people could do right now to forget about COVID-19 for just a few hours. Several golf courses around here are still open, but you should expect some changes.

(Source: WRDW)

"We want to be a haven for people to go out and enjoy each other, enjoy the nice weather. It's real nice to be able to accomodate golfers," said RIver Golf Club's director of golf Chris Verdere.

Courses and clubs are doing their part to stay open. This includes the obvious like no-dining in and sitting down at the grill. Common surfaces like door handles and counters are being wiped down more more often. Golf carts are also being washed down with soap after rounds.

"Any steps that we take -- we feel are important to do our part. People have been great. Nobody's said, 'well I'm more worried about normal golf procedures than helping to stop spread this thing.' So, everyone's been teaming up together," Verdere added.

At the River Golf Club and Forest Hills, two people are still allowed to ride in the cart. Use your own judgement depending on who you're playing with.

"So the guy I'm playing with today has chosen not to ride in the cart with me, keeping social distance. So this is probably about the safest thing you can do," said Evans golfer Brad Bertram.

During your round avoid touching flagsticks and don't take them down. Some holes may be partially filled with something like a swimming noddle. Anything close, count it.

"I think it's a really good idea and a nice way for us to keep from touching communal areas and just another thing the course is doing to try and be proactive and issues that could cause us some trouble," said Augusta women's golf coach Caroline Hegg.

Bunker rakes may or may not be available. Either don't go in the sand, or get creative with how you "rake" the bunker.

"I guess that means we get to kick the sand around in places so I'm ok with that," added Hegg.

Keep in mind some county and city parks and courses, like the Patch, have closed. The regulations may be different course to course as well. It's still a great way to break some cabin fever and get some activity in.