Shuswap Lake Estates Golf Course in the South Shuswap will be open for business on Wednesday, April 22. (Denis Silva photo)

Golf courses in Shuswap hold varying views, timelines on opening to public

Club Shuswap owner torn, would like to align with municipal viewpoints

Like a golf ball flying down the middle of a fairway, plans for golf courses in the Shuswap have been up in the air.

Although weather often rules, this year the pandemic, and figuring out how best to deal with it, has been a big factor.

Wendy Barker, manager of Shuswap Lake Estates Golf Course, said the South Shuswap course will open on Wednesday, April 22. She said management will be carefully following the practices put forward by the BC Golf Association and Interior Health.

Barker outlined some of those measures, which will include golfers on the course either walking or having just one person per cart (unless in the same family such as a married couple.) There will be 10-minute tee times and people can only come to the course 15 minutes beforehand so there’ll be no hanging around.

On the green there will be no touching the pin. The cup will be raised with foam on the top, so if a ball hits the cup it’s considered in. That way there will be no need to put hands in the hole.

There will be no rakes in the sand, no ball washers and no garbage cans, but there will be sanitizing stations.

The washrooms will be open and sanitized regularly.

There will be lots of signage encouraging social distancing. A marshall will go around making sure social distancing is observed.

“If we find someobody disobeying, we would ask them to leave,” she said.

Read more: Three Okanagan golf courses set to open April 15

Read more: COVID-19 – Some North Okanagan golf courses opening

Read more: Salmon Arm Golf Club sold to consolidator GolfNorth Properties

The restaurant provides only take-out and just two customers are allowed inside at a time.

Barker said staff were not brought back until procedures were well-established.

One practice included closing the lunchroom so people would eat outside or in their vehicles, with social-distancing observed.

She noted the situation will be updated if changes occur.

At Talking Rock Golf Course in the North Shuswap, on April 16 director of golf Nathan Grieve said only that the situation is being assessed as it unfolds and, if and when the course opens, management will follow the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada guidelines and those of the health authority.

At Club Shuswap, owner Tony Barnard said the club wants to conform with what the local community wants but, by the same token, Vernon is open, Kamloops is open and Kelowna is open.

“Vernon yesterday, I guess they were backed up all over the place, they couldn’t look after enough people, so you know, we hate to be losing money if there’s a market here to be had, but we also want to be prudent.”

Everything is pending on the health authorities and local authorities, he said.

“When you look at the municipality with all of the recreation things shut down, we would look awful bad if we were to go open up without their permission.”

He said while it would be nice for people to stay isolated yet enjoy activities, there’s a lot involved in ensuring a facility is safe.

At the Salmon Arm Golf Club, snow has finally melted. Management requested that the Observer check back with them in a week.

No one could be reached at the Shuswap National or Hyde Mountain in Sicamous.

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Wendy Barker, manager at Shuswap Lake Estates, created this sign to remind golfers to keep their distance during the pandemic. A marshall will also be monitoring golfers’ physical distancing. (Contributed)

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