Golfers are joined by a feathered friend on a green at Guildford Golf & Country Club on Thursday (March 25). The photo was taken from the sidewalk along 152nd Street. Course general manager Corey Anderson emphasizes that because this photograph was taken with a telephoto lens, it may make it appear the golfers are closer together than they actually are. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

‘It’s day by day here’: Guildford golf course stays open as COVID-19 concerns grow

Patron limits in pro shop and power carts among the operational changes, GM says

Golfers continue to drive, chip and putt at Guildford Golf & Country Club, where general manager Corey Anderson says he’s found ways to encourage “social distancing” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some Surrey-area courses have closed over the past week, but Guildford is among those that have remained open, with operational changes in play.

“The facility is closed to the public except for the pro shop, which is limited to two people at a time, and we have a tape line on the ground for the required distance people should stand apart,” Anderson told the Now-Leader on Friday (March 27).

“We’re limiting our power carts to one person at a time, and we’ve removed all ball washers and rakes for the sandtraps, those aren’t being used,” he added. “As well, we have raised the cups an inch above the ground, so the person putts the ball and it just hits the cup, so there’s no reaching into the hole to get a ball.”

Some staff at the course have been laid off, Anderson said.

“It’s day by day here, and I’m taking tee times for Saturday right now, and everyone is aware that if we are told that we need to close, then we’re closing, right,” he said. “I watch the news every day, with Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer), and she hasn’t indicated anything about golf course closures. I’m in communication with probably five to seven other GMs in Surrey and Langley, every day, and we’re seeing how it goes here.”

• RELATED STORIES:

South Surrey’s Hazelmere Golf Course remains open during COVID-19 crisis.

‘Devastating decision’: Surrey golf courses closed due to COVID-19.

The two-course Northview Golf & Country Club in Surrey was shut down at 8 p.m. Sunday (March 22), according to a post at northviewgolf.com.

Early Sunday (March 22), Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum asked golfers to stay home during the pandemic, and British Columbia Golf backed the appeal in a letter to Dr. Henry.

“While we do not take this decision lightly whatsoever, we realize that in the best interest of all golfers, their families and their 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,” says an online message from Kris Jonasson, CEO of British Columbia Golf.

Anderson said Jonasson’s letter to Henry “came as a shock” to him.

“I think what speaks louder than the letter they penned to Bonnie Henry is that she didn’t even address it,” Anderson said.

“They (British Columbia Golf) don’t speak on behalf of us, which in the letter they portrayed they did, which is inaccurate,” he added.

Some people have emailed the Now-Leader and posted to social media complaining about a lack of “social distancing” at Guildford Golf & Country Club over the past week. Among them is Wendy Edwards, who called these “uncertain times.”

Wrote Edwards: “I understand that golf for many people is a time to clear their minds and to enjoy the fresh air as they socialize with their friends, but with the threat of COVID19 lurking we can not be too careful.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that they and their families are safe from this invisible threat. I work in the Surrey school District as a Child and Youth Care Worker and as for now we have decided to keep our school community’s safe by closing our doors to students and parents. I encourage all golf club to do the same. We are one village and need to work together to begin to combat the threat of COVID19.”

Anderson said staff at the Guildford course “have been getting a few calls” and have seen some negative posts on social media.

“But as the general manager of Guildford golf course,” he said, “I’d never want to do anything to put my staff or any of our clientele in jeopardy, and I feel that with the measures we’ve put in place and the fact that golf is basically, one to four guys walking down a 400-yard hole outdoors, I don’t feel that it is putting anyone in danger. And if they’re encouraging people to go out for a walk and exercise, I don’t see how walking 18 holes is any different than that.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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