British Columbia

Vancouver to open 2 of 3 civic golf courses May 1

Fraserview and McCleery set to open Friday with strict COVID-19 playing protocols in place. Langara will remain closed.

Fraserview and McCleery set to open Friday with strict COVID-19 playing protocols in place

The 18th hole at Vancouver's Fraserview Golf Club (Vancouver Parks Board)

You can't touch the flag sticks, and high-fives, fist bumps and handshakes are definitely out.

But at least those who have been jonesing to tee it up for the first time in 2020 will get a chance when Vancouver opens two of its three city-run golf courses on Friday.

The news release announcing the May 1 opening of Fraserview and McCleery includes a long list of to-dos and don'ts to make sure players abide by COVID-19 public health restrictions around physical distancing and hygiene.

Don't:

  • Come to the course if you are coughing, feverish or exhibiting any sickness.
  • Arrive more than 20 minutes before your tee time and no lingering after it's over.
  • Bring cash to pay: only credit and debit cards accepted.
  • Touch the flagstick.
  • Expect to rent clubs or use the clubhouse, driving range or practice putting green. None are available.

Do:

  • Maintain physical distance of at least two metres at all times.
  • Bring your own hand sanitizer, snacks and water, but don't share the last two.
  • Listen to the instructions of the starter overseeing the first tee.
  • Drop off carts in designated area and remember only one person per cart.
  • Play preferred lies in sand traps (allows the golfer to pick up and move the ball but not closer to the hole) and smooth sand with your foot before leaving the bunker. 

Course amenities that normally create communal touch points such as bunker rakes, ball washers, garbage can lids and shoe blowers have all been removed. 

And the cups have all been fitted with with a filler to keep the ball from going to the bottom of the hole. The Park Board says it is encouraging continuous putting (putting until you hole out) and the awarding of a gimmie to all who get their ball within two feet of the hole.

Langara remains closed

Langara, the City of Vancouver's third civic course, is currently being used as a meal preparation centre for residents of the Downtown Eastside and will remain closed to the public.

Many, but not all, golf courses closed down when B.C. declared a public health state of emergency last month. A good number are beginning to reopen, some to members only and with strict new playing protocols.

As a sport that requires no physical contact and takes place in open, outdoor spaces, golf has proven to be more pandemic-friendly than many others, such as soccer and hockey.

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