Meadows at Pemberton to open April 30 

Distancing measures, other precautions will be in effect

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF KEVIN MCLEOD - The Meadows at Pemberton will open on April 30.
  • Photo courtesy of Kevin McLeod
  • The Meadows at Pemberton will open on April 30.

The Meadows at Pemberton is getting set to open for the 2020 season on April 30.

The club will open to members and passholders with a slate of new policies and procedures in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While many courses have opted not to open, golf courses are exempt from the 50-person limit as long as physical distancing of at least two metres and other precautions are met.

Vancouver Coastal Health deputy-medical health officer Mark Lysyshyn confirmed in an April 16 letter that courses are allowed to operate, safely.

Though many were mandated shut by provincial bodies, Meadows at Pemberton general manager Kevin McLeod said he had been keeping a close eye on the situation to determine if it was reasonable to open, and if it was, what policies and procedures should come into effect. With several courses around the province already announcing how and when they would operate, McLeod was pleased to have a model from which to build the Meadows' approach.

"We kept watching what they were doing and watching the health [situation], listening to [provincial health officer] Dr. Bonnie Henry everyday," he said. "Our whole goal here is to help flatten the curve. We didn't want to open too soon. We're all trying to do our part here, so the decision to stay closed until April 30 was made."

Among the precautions the club is taking are: making sure golfers stay two metres apart at all times; holding tee times 15 minutes apart, up from eight; closing practice areas; requiring golfers to arrive no more than 15 minutes before their tee time; limiting carts to one rider unless people are from the same household or arrive together; and asking golfers to touch as few things as possible, removing implements such as ball washers while requiring the pin be left in the hole.

While some courses that have decided to open have received mixed feedback, McLeod said he hadn't heard any negative reaction as of Friday afternoon, though it was shortly after the opening date was made public.

"Time will tell. We're a small community and a lot of people want to come out and play. This is 140-acres-plus, probably closer to 150 acres, so as long as we maintain our new standards, everything should work fine," he said, adding that staff members will drive around the course to ensure golfers are following the new rules. "Everyone has to do their part for this to work, and if I have people out on the golf course that aren't following the social distance rules, then we have to deal with that, because that's going to negatively impact everybody."

McLeod said infractions would be handled on a case-by-case basis.

As for the course itself, McLeod said he's been out on course completing tasks such as cutting grass, and noted that the conditions look solid. He added that returnees may notice some changes to the course in the home stretch.

"Over the winter, we did a little more taking down of some trouble trees in the back nine, some cottonwoods, so we've got a lot more open play areas back there," he said.

For a complete list of new policies and procedures, visit https://pembertongolf.com/pages/new-policies-procedures.

The neighbouring course in Pemberton, Big Sky Golf Club, is working on its approach and hopes to make an update on its plans in the days to come, according to general manager Mike MacNeil.

For more, pick up the April 30 edition of Pique.

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