Fore!? Maybe not as Tri-City golf courses consider closures

Vancouver Golf Club in Coquitlam is closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other golf facilities are pondering next steps

Vancouver Golf Club in Coquitlam is closing as of noon Tuesday. 

But other courses in the Tri-Cities are in a holding pattern as they await further direction from B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

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On Sunday, the chief executive director of British Columbia Golf, which governs the province's 56,000 members and more than 300 clubs, sent a letter to Dr. Henry endorsing the closure of all the sport’s facilities in B.C.

“We realize that in the best interest of all golfers, their families and loved ones, staying away from golf facilities in order to do our part to ‘flatten the curve’ is the most responsible and prudent thing to do,” Kris Jonasson said, adding procedures should also be allowed to be put into place for “minimal and required upkeep” of the courses.

Richard Creally, the general manager at the members-only Vancouver Golf Club on Austin Avenue said it’s a tough call, but the right one.

“I think there’s a lot of people that get up every day and look forward to getting some exercise at the golf course,” he told The Tri-City News, “but these are unique times we’re in and it’s the right thing to do.”

Creally said while the facility’s clubhouse was closed early last week, members were still able to play the course, which hosted professional and amateur championship tournaments over the years. He said a number of safety measures were put into place, including the removal of rakes from sand traps, as well as ball washers, and mandatory social distancing between players was implemented.

He said the changes were working well but as the health crisis has deepened, a decision was made to take the next step.

A pro-shop attendant at the Carnoustie Golf Club in Port Coquitlam said the course was busy over the weekend, with enhanced cleaning and safety procedures in place, including restricting use of cash register keypads to one employee. But whether the course would continue to stay open had not yet been determined pending an update from Dr. Henry.

A representative for Eagle Quest Golf in Coquitlam said Monday its range and nine-hole course remain open but that could change quickly; its mini-golf course is closed. 

The spokesperson said its bathrooms are being cleaned hourly, balls and baskets are wiped with disinfectant and the shop’s food and beverage service is limited to take-out. He said the facility “was more busy than I thought it would be” through the weekend.

A call and message to Coquitlam’s Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club weren’t immediately answered but a notice posted last Thursday on its website said its executive 12-hole course remained open “with adjustments made to the operations” and the 18-hole championship course was reopened Saturday “to further allow customers a means of entertainment that embraces social distancing.”

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