Golf courses prepare for opening day May 1

Local News

EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Starting Friday May 1, golfers will return to courses throughout Illinois, but it’s certainly not a normal opening day.

Usually, golf courses would have been open for nearly two months at this point, but when Governor J.B. Pritzker’s ‘Stay-at-Home’ Order went into effect, courses were forced to close down.

Friday, the greens will be open, but with a lot of restrictions.

With golf courses finally opening up, course directors say player excitement is extremely high.

“We open at 7, we booked em till 6 pm,” said Quail Meadows Golf Course Director Tom Wolff.

The same came be said over in Woodford County at Metamora Fields, and Weaverridge Golf Course in Peoria.

“Both Metamora Fields and Weaverridge tee times are pretty well full for Friday and Saturday,” said General Manager Matt Rogers.

But Wolff says even though they’re booked solid, the courses’ capacity will not be anywhere near where it usually would be.

“If it was a normal year and I told you I was booked solid from 7 am to 6 pm, it would be unbelievable,” Wolff said.

Rogers says both Metamora Fields and Weaverridge will see less than half the amount of golfers they’re used to.

“We’re looking at about a 40 percent operational capacity compared to what we would normally be able to operate at,” Rogers said.

On the Governor’s Executive Order, it reads golfers may use carts if they are not physically able to walk the course.

From Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Golf Operational Restrictions

“If somebody is handicapped or they have a physical need for a cart, there’s potential they can rent one. Only thing is, we can only put one person on a cart,” Wolff said.

“From our standpoint, anyone who does request a cart this weekend will be provided a cart no questions asked,” Rogers added.

Another important part of playing a round of golf, getting a meal and a drink before or after, which Rogers said will now be offered for golfers to enjoy at both Weaverridge and Metamora Fields.

“We do plan to do carry-out available to the public and to golfers out on the course this Friday and Saturday. We’ll see how that goes, and hopefully we can just keep building off of that,” Rogers said.

Rogers says while the Woodford County State’s Attorney will not prosecute ‘Stay-at-Home’ violations and the Sheriff’s Department will not enforce it either, Metamora Fields will abide by the Governor’s Order this weekend.

He adds that he and other course directors are working on a letter to Governor Pritzker. The letter will offer recommendations about changes to the ‘Stay-at-Home’ Order.

Peoria Park District is reporting all three district courses will open on May 1, but the Golf Learning Center will remain closed until further notice.

“We are pleased to be able to open our courses again for play,” said Emily Cahill, Executive Director of the Peoria Park District.  “Our staff has been working hard while the courses have been closed and we are ready to see them full of golfers again! Further, in recognition of the state-mandated closure, all those who have purchased memberships will be contacted this week regarding an offered discount.  Memberships for the remainder of the year will also be available for purchase and will reflect the same discount.  To learn more, please visit ppdgolf.org.”

You can find all of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity guidelines for golfing below, or on this document.

With the precautions and operational restrictions outlined below, golf shall be permitted as a recreational
activity, effective 6:00AM, May 1st, 2020. In addition to the general social distancing standards set forth
in the Stay at Home Order, golf courses and golfers need to abide by the following controls.
Golf Clubs and Management restrictions:
• Require online or telephone bookings
• Players shall be grouped in twosomes.
• 15 minutes between tee-times:
o Average tee-times are roughly 12 minutes apart. Spreading out bookings would ensure
people do not congregate at tee boxes.
o Spacing out the tee times would also limit the number of people at the golf course.
• Signage describing operational changes including: no congregating, increased frequency of
cleaning, no handshakes, and maintain social distancing between players
• No practice ranges, chipping greens, or putting greens to limit large gatherings of individuals.
• No golf carts may be used on course (either owned by golf club or privately owned), except
individuals with a physical disability or physical limitations that prevent them from walking the
course may rent a cart from the golf club.
• Only privately-owned pull carts may be utilized, rental of pull carts from the course will not be
allowed
• Elevate the “bottom” of the cup:
o This can be done by placing the cup upside down so that the new bottom is roughly an
inch below the lip of the hole. Golfers could retrieve their ball without having to put their
hand in the bottom of the regular cup.
o Alternatively, place Styrofoam in the bottom of the cup
• Flags cannot be removed from the cup
• Clubhouses, halfway houses, and proshops shall remain closed.
• Prohibit beverage and snack carts
• Courses shall operate at a minimum basic operations level of staff to limit customer and staff
contact; i.e. “starter”, “course manager”, “maintenance crew”, “kitchen staff to prepare to-go
only food service.”

• Remove drinking water jugs and prohibit use of water fountains that are permanently affixed
with signage
• Elimination of on-course and practice facility touchpoints (i.e. bag drop, benches, ball washes,
bunker/sand trap rakes, rental equipment, and water coolers)
• Hand sanitizer and soap in all restrooms, including those on the course
o Restrooms shall be sanitized regularly
• No indoor events or outside tournaments
• Restaurants can remain open for takeout only; all tables and chairs removed or flipped upside
down to prohibit use
• Indoor facilities may be open for minimal operations for use by golf course workers to facilitate
the outdoor recreation footprint and activity
Player Restrictions:
• Any players with any symptoms of COVID-19, should not play
• In addition, any players from a household with someone with symptoms of COVID-19 should
not play
• Golfers must walk and carry own clubs; no caddies.
• Bring your own supply of balls, tees, ball markers, and any other equipment needed to play
golf.
• Insist on social distancing on tees, greens, and throughout the round
• Players shall maintain adequate physical distancing between other twosomes.
• Golfers should pick up their own ball
• Handle your own scorecard
• Bring your own water/sports drink, towel, and snack
• Do not use the public drinking fountain or ball cleaner
• Leave the flag in place while putting
• Sort out the sand in the bunker with a club
• Put on your golf shoes at your vehicle
• Bring hand sanitizer with you and use during your round and at the end
• No handshakes at the beginning of the round or at the 18th hole

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