The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Gwendolyne Honrud
The Courier 

Golf On

Keeping It Sunny And Safe


Gwendolyne Honrud / The Courier

Torey Rasmusan (l) and Andy Newton (r) prepare to hit the links May 28. Golfers are allowed to ride in the same cart as long as face masks are worn, as required by local health officials.

Keep it sunny. And safe. A slightly modified catch phrase at the golf course this season, but it is working. In keeping with protocols outlined by Governor Steve Bullock and local health officials, Sunnyside Country Club has been welcoming golfers back to the greens with a few noticable changes.

Women's and Men's leagues kicked off last week with the women on the links Tuesday evening, May 26, and the men swinging clubs on Thursday, May 28. Despite new health and safety requirements this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, 28 women came out for league this year, up from 16 last year. Thursday night, 64 gentlemen made their way around the course, keeping a safe distance from other golfers.

The course itself has undergone a few modifications so that it can safely remain open for golfers looking for a safe and healthy activity outside the home as the state slowly moves toward a full reopening. Cups have been modified so that golf balls can be removed without touching the flag stick and eliminating the need for constant cleaning. Rakes for sand traps have been removed and golfers have been asked to "do your best to smooth disturbed sand with your shoe or club." Water jugs and garbage cans have also been removed from the course and golfers are asked to bring all trash back to the clubhouse trash cans for disposal. Course bathrooms will also remain closed until further notice.

Rental power carts are available but limited to one golfer at a time. Personal golf carts are allowed, but also limited to one rider unless golfers are members of the same household or are properly wearing face masks for their own and others' safety. Golfers are asked not to touch flag sticks or handle others' golf clubs.

The driving range and chipping and putting greens are open so long as social distancing is maintained. Range balls are being washed and disinfected after each use and tokens are disinfected before being sold.

In the clubhouse, new hand sanitizer stations are available for members and staff. Personal and complimentary coolers have been replaced with single use plastic bags for beverages. Tables have been rearranged to adhere to distancing guidelines, with a limited number of chairs available to reflect the capacity limits. As of Monday, allowable capacity for the clubhouse is up from 55 people to 83.

Traditional celebratory high-fives have been replaced with elbow bumps. Manager Andy Newton, known for his unbridled enthusiasm, has led by example, greeting staff with elbow bumps and stressing the need to follow the guidelines to keep members happy. Despite some grumbling about wearing facemasks, one golfer said, "Do whatever you have to do to keep this place open this summer." Others who did not want to don a facial covering, rode alone in golf carts while respecting social distancing rules.

Members have stuck to the rules regarding the number of people allowed at one table, sometimes seen with a seventh member of a group seated at a nearby table rather than risk breaking the rules. "The rules are in place for a reason," said one longtime Sunnyside member as his group discussed the new situation. Fortunately for golfers and the community, safety is first and foremost as people hit the links, keeping it Sunny.


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