S. Burlington Wednesday, May 6th
Governor Phil Scott has given golf courses in Vermont permission to open on Thursday.
"We were just waiting for good news.", said Brian Gara, PGA Head Golf Professional at Vermont National. "We got it this morning and we're ready to go."
But players have to be ready to play by a new set of temporary rules. First up, all tee times must be made in advance, either by phone or online. And when players arrive at the course, it will be 'park, play, and leave', arrive ten minutes prior to your tee time, stay in your car until your tee time, then head to the first tee, play your round, return to your car and head home.
"It's a wide open space, but I think everyone will be responsible about it.", said Gara. "People are going to maintain their social distance, and enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the sport we all love."
On the course, adjustments have been made as well. Golf carts are allowed, but only one player per cart, and they will be sanitized between uses. Items like bunker rakes and ball washers and other so-called touch points will be removed. And modified cups will be installed as well.
"(Here at Essex) We have, in the cup, a Styrofoam insert so the ball doesn't go to the bottom.", said Essex Country Club Owner and Manager Joe Chastenay. "It's 3/4 of the way in so you can just reach down and pick it out without touching the flag."
"There's not any point during the round of golf where you're going to come within 6 feet of someone else or or touch anything on the golf course that doesn't relate to your own equipment.", adds Gara.
Clubhouses will be closed for general use, although bathrooms will be allowed to be open. Clubhouse business, such as food service or pro-shops, will only be allowed to operate via methods such as curbside pickup or delivery. An announcement today that courses can open tomorrow means a quick turnaround for course operators who have been waiting to get the go ahead, but starting Thursday it's game on.
"We're ready to go and be able to do it responsibly tomorrow.", said Gara.