GET INTO GOLF: Are you open?
We’ve got some good news and some bad news. When I say this most folks say, “Give me the bad news first!”
The bad news is that Alta Sierra Country Club has suspended play. It seems that Nevada County’s “powers that be” have determined that the course should close despite social distancing and other mitigating efforts.
Hopefully, this closure will not last long, because, here is the good news. Auburn Valley Country Club is booking starting times for golf as Placer County has relaxed its Outdoor Recreational Activity list. Golf courses, tennis, volleyball and more are now opening up for business.
In keeping with this, The Ridge Golf Course also re-opens today.
We trust that Alta Sierra CC will be able to resume golf operations soon. In the meantime, there are now several opportunities down Highway 49 to get some exercise, fresh air, and recreation. Black Oak GC (9-holes), Darkhorse GC, The Ridge GC, and Auburn Valley CC are now available for play.
One important thing to remember, the staff at each course is operating under a temporary set of guidelines. Please do not expect “normal.”
My recommendation is to make your reservation online, if possible.
The pro shop staff is receiving phone calls all day long with one question. “Are you open?”
At a minimum, go to the course website first. Then, follow the directions. If the website points you to a “Book Online” button, click it and proceed. If the website asks to phone in, give them a call, but don’t be disappointed if you get a busy signal or a voicemail greeting.
For heaven’s sake, do not, do not, make a reservation online and then call the pro shop to confirm.
Also, each property will have different access to snack bar type food and beverages. One may have burgers and hot dogs, another may not be able to provide this.
My advice, don’t go too hungry or too thirsty. Eat before you go and put a bottle of water in your golf bag. Then, after you have visited the course and played, you will know how to prepare for your next round.
A few other notes. One of the social distancing and/or sanitizing efforts is to keep the flagstick in the hole. Fortunately, the Rules of Golf made a change last year which allowed this (how did they know?). As you approach the hole, you will see either a small device around the flagstick or the plastic insert has been turned upside down. Both designed to keep the ball from dropping to the bottom.
If you head for the course by yourself and choose to ride in a golf cart, you will ride alone. This may increase your cost. If you walk, it’s easy to keep your distance. However, the golf course is not going to place two strangers in a golf cart together.
Ball washers, placed throughout the course, will likely be covered and not available.
Finally, you will likely not find a rake following your bunker shot. For that matter, if your ball comes to rest in the sand, the odds of a good lie are not great. Each course may or may not have a local rule to ease your suffering, but life isn’t perfect. Hit it.
Again, we’ve got some fun choices to get out of the house and see some friends. It seems that we might be on the prudent path back to normal.
Make a reservation, enjoy the drive, keep swinging and carry on.
John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses.
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