Those wanting to get out and play sports again during this ongoing coronavirus shutdown will get to do so starting Friday on local golf courses, albeit in a limited fashion.
As part of Gov. JB Pritzker’s modified stay at home order extension announced last week, Illinois golf courses can welcome golfers starting at 6 a.m. May 1.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity laid out several ground rules to course operators, however, in keeping with social distancing practices.
Players must be grouped in twosomes with tee times spread out 15 minutes apart through prior online or telephone bookings. No carts are allowed, so golfers must walk the course unless they have a physical impairment that would restrict them from doing so.
Food and drink orders must be taken outside of the clubhouse.
These rules also prohibit the use of “practice ranges, chipping greens or putting greens to limit large gatherings of individuals.”
And if players want to use a pull (hand) cart, they must bring their own.
Carl Unverfehrt of Mystic Oak Golf Course in Waterloo said his course will follow exactly what the state has outlined, but also said the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity “knows nothing about golf.”
Unverfehrt said surrounding states are allowing foursomes with one person per cart.
“People call us and we tell them that they have to walk and they tell me that they’ll just go back to Missouri,” Unverfehrt said, adding he thought it was “silly” and the rules are “not good for business or good for people.”
“Every day I see people walking their dogs on the course and riding bikes, but if you go out there and hit a ball, you’re in violation,” he said.
The Acorns Golf Links in Wartburg will also be opening for golf May 1. It has reworked the clubhouse to accommodate for social distancing.
Patrons must now enter through the door near the 18th green rather than the main entrance. Golfers will be able to pay for golf and use the bathroom in the clubhouse, but there is a limit of one customer at a time.
Similarly, Annbriar Golf Course in Waterloo is ready to welcome golfers this Friday with the same restrictions, as are other local courses such as Triple Lakes Golf Course near Millstadt.