Area courses preparing for a different start to the season

Daily Herald File Photo Cory Selander watches his putt during the 2019 Men’s Northern final at the Cooke Municipal Golf Course last August. Cooke’s opening date for the 2020 season has yet to be determined.

To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected area golf courses’ plans for the 2020 season would be a huge understatement.

While many facilities would have been open already around the province, golfers will hit the links for the first time and visit driving ranges for the first time on Friday as part of the provincial government Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.

 “I would say that we’re opened by April 20 around 90 percent of the time, so we lost about a month, but we’re lucky that we’re allowed to open this weekend as there’s still a lot of places that are closed,” Kachur’s Golf Club owner Patty Kachur said.

“It’s always busy leading up to a new season but there’s obviously more to do this year, such as roping off areas, putting signage up around the course and putting chairs and tables away. We don’t want anyone to get sick and we’re reminding everyone that they can’t gather in groups or hang out inside the clubhouse.”

In addition to Kachur’s, Fairview Fairways and the Mark’s 9 Golf Club are also set to open on Friday.

“We have everything prepared here, except for the mini-golf course, which is still closed,” Fairview Fairways CPGA golf pro Gord Hobson said. “We’ve also cut down the number of people that can be on the driving range from 16 to 10 so that we can ensure proper social distancing.”

“Everything has gone well here so far and we’re just hoping that the weather is going to be good for the long weekend,” Wendy Cartier of Mark’s 9 added.

“We’re just reminding the golfers to make sure that they abide by the rules. We don’t want them to be shaking hands and hanging out in groups.”

The Waskesiu Golf Course announced earlier this week that they would begin their season on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Cooke Municipal Golf Course will not be open this weekend and an exact start date has yet to be finalized.

Those who are looking to play a round at golf courses are asked to call in advance to book a tee time.

A maximum of four players are allowed in each group and anyone who wishes to share a cart must be from the same household.

All tee times are 12 minutes apart, which is a change from the 20 minutes that were announced in the initial Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.