Phones already ringing for Friday tee-off times on P.E.I.
Golf courses starting on time, but will miss off-Island players
P.E.I.'s golfers were quick to the phones when the province announced it was lifting COVID-19 restrictions on golf course openings as of Friday.
Mark McLane of Golf P.E.I. said phones started ringing courses for Friday tee times not long the province made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.
"People are anxious," said McLane.
"I think from a mental health perspective it's great to get out in the sunshine and away from all this negativity."
Kris Currie, the owner of Countryview Golf Club, said he was surprised when he heard the province's announcement, but said he was happy to hear the news.
"It's a great relief," he said.
"It's great to see the province step up and loosen some restrictions and get golf going."
Currie said before the announcement, he'd received very few calls about memberships, but since Tuesday he's been very busy.
He said he hasn't set a date yet for when Countryview Golf Club will open, but said he will do so once he hears more from the province about safety protocols.
If sports like soccer, softball and some other ones don't go this summer maybe there's an opportunity for kids to take up the game.- Mark McLane, Golf P.E.I.
This is usually about the time golf courses would be opening in any year, McLane said, but that won't make it normal.
Some rules will still be in place. Physical distancing will have to be practised, so no more than one person per cart, and McLane expects many courses will encourage walking.
As for course operation, there will be a lot more cleaning and sanitizing, and pro shops and food service will be closed.
Province still closed
That will cost the courses revenue, but a bigger issue will be the lack of off-Island golfers.
McLane estimates non-residents play a little more than half the rounds at P.E.I. courses. The provincial border is currently closed to non-essential travellers and the plan to ease restrictions does not propose any reopening of that border until July at the earliest.
While it is not likely to make up the difference, McLane thinks there may be an opportunity to recruit more local members, particularly younger ones.
"If sports like soccer, softball and some other ones don't go this summer maybe there's an opportunity for kids to take up the game," he said.
Few courses will be open May 1, as they need to get not just the courses ready but prepare for public health guidelines. By May 22, McLane expects all courses on the Island will be open.
More from CBC P.E.I.
- Mark McLane originally said in this story that Belvedere Golf Club will open May 1. Belvedere Golf Club says they will open May 8.Apr 30, 2020 6:24 AM AT
With files from Island Morning