Local golf courses realize how fortunate they are to be able to remain open under the new restrictions that went into effect on Sunday.  However, they did have to implement some adjustments to their operations to comply with Alberta Health Services' added health protocols.

Yesterday, the new health protocol rules under the “Stop the Spike” initiative went into effect for golf courses.

Brad Walz with Cochrane Golf Course says essentially as of Sunday at noon they cancelled all the tee times that were booked for the next two weeks and re-booked the times under altered, abbreviated tee sheets. The new sheets accommodate six-minute intervals, down from ten-minute intervals between tee times.

The change to tee sheets sees the course putting through 20 players per hour as opposed to 24 and in twosomes only.

Walz says when they hit the reset and had to re-book everything, “Everybody, honest to goodness, everybody has been absolutely fantastic and very understanding of what our situation is. It’s just a wonderful reflection on everyone who has been affected.”

Foursomes are not allowed on the course at this time. “We’re doing the protocols and anybody who is booking as a twosome of course has to be the same household. So, we’re getting a lot more couples coming out. And if they are living alone, they can designate a cohort.”, explains Walz.

Walz says Cochrane Golf Club has temporarily suspended online bookings in order to monitor and vet players as best as they can. The online process doesn’t allow the club to ask the questions that need to be asked to follow the new AHS rules.

A single person who lives alone can have a chosen cohort to play with.  However, if a single person wishes to play by him or herself Cochrane Golf Club will let a player do that. However, not all courses are allowing the practice. Wahl says, “We just didn’t think that was fair if you live alone {…} why should you be penalized.” Booking online does not allow for single players because online someone can book with another single and that is against the AHS rules.

So, for the next few weeks and until restrictions are lifted, all tee time bookings must be made in person or by phone by calling the pro shop at 403-932-5103.

Remember to book ahead, with the nice weather coming, it is going to get busy even in the altered state of operation that golf courses are in at the moment.

Courses and players are happy that the game of golf can continue even if it is a bit different, but then again what isn’t different in the world of COVID-19.