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Hinton Golf Club opening sooner than expected on May 9

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative

Alberta’s relaunch strategy included the reopening of golf courses sooner than the Hinton Golf Club expected, but on May 9 the club is welcoming back local golfers.

Staff were initially preparing for a June 1 start date, but managed to get the course prepped to open at least nine holes.

The club was set to present their budget during the May 5 regular council meeting, which was pushed back due to changes in their budget as they are now opening the course sooner than expected.

“We’re really trying to open up 18 holes. We do have some cart path issues that we have to solve but I’m pretty sure we’ll allow 18 holes of golf for walking,” said Kyle Crawford, director of the Hinton Golf Club.

Those who require a power cart may be limited to just nine holes to begin with. 

Under the current provincial COVID-19 restrictions, nobody will be allowed to enter the building other than one person at a time for the restrooms. This means golfers must pre-pay for their rounds via the website or calling in with a credit card.

Players can also purchase driving range buckets online for the driving range, which opened on May 6.

The club is in the process of redesigning the website and POS system for booking tee times and paying for green fees and memberships. Golfers are asked to show up no more than 15 minutes before their tee time.

Once they arrive, a staff member will be outside to direct them to use one cart per person, unless they are from the same household, and send them off to the first tee immediately.

“It is going to be a little rough from May 9 to the 14th but I think the people just want to be golfing. They understand that these guidelines are put in by the government and I think everybody will follow it,” Crawford said.

Once golfers are done their round, they can drop off their clubs at their vehicles before dropping the cart and anything else they used off in a designated sanitizing station to be sanitized for the next player.

Eighteen social distancing signs on the course, two on the driving range, and nine to remind players not to pick up any tees or anything will be displayed.

There will be no rakes in the bunkers, sleeves on the flags will say do not touch, and a cup system will be installed with a false bottom that allows golfers to get the ball out of the hole with their putter.

If the government moves into stage one of their relaunch strategy on May 14 as expected, the club will be able to open its pro shop to a limited number of people and the restaurant to half capacity.

In the meantime, grab and go food and beverage options will be available seven days per week while beverage cart services will be available Fridays through Sundays.

“The phone has been ringing off the hook so people are excited to golf and we’re going to do everything we can to make it safe for them and hopefully we’ll get more people to come out just based on word of mouth that we are taking every precaution that we can to make everyone safe,” said Crawford.