There may be an absence of sports around the Semiahmoo Peninsula these days – remember sports? – as the COVID-19 crisis shutters rec centre and sports facilities across the region, but local golfers still have a few options.
In South Surrey, Hazelmere Golf Course remains open, as do its West Coast Golf Group-owned sister courses elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, Swan-e-set Bay Resort in Pitt Meadows and Langley’s Belmont Golf Club.
“Our group of courses is currently open. We are keeping our… website current with what we are doing to promote physical/social distancing and we are making sure our staff are not required to work if they are uncomfortable to do so,” WCGG vice-president Troy Peverley told Peace Arch News via email Thursday.
The company website (www.wcgg.golf) states that all courses are keeping up with current recommendations from the World Health Organization and Health Canada, and that staff have been educating “regarding illness prevention measures as laid out by the above mentioned organizations.”
As well, Hazelmere and the other courses, the note reads, have “expanded the already thorough cleaning and sanitizing procedures in place at all of our sites.”
Later Thursday, Peverley said that. moving forward, WCGG willl be “more than happy to comply with any legislation by the government, in terms of directives to close.”
Gatherings of more than 50 people have also been postponed – Hazelmere is a a popular location for weddings and other events – and anyone who has travelled outside of Canada is asked to stay away from the facility for 14 days upon their return.
As well, Peverley said new parameters for entering the golf shop are in place to comply with social-distancing rules, and many of those on the course are golfing alone, rather than in the traditional groups of two or four.
Another popular South Surrey course, Peace Portal Golf Course, is open until end of day today (Thursday), and then, acccording to a note posted on its website, will close “until such time as the pandemic is over.”
Elsewhere in Surrey, Northview Golf & Country Club – which has two golf courses – shut its doors Sunday (March 22).
“Unfortunately, we have made the devastating decision to close our entire facility effective Sunday, March 22nd at 8 p.m.,” reads a message from Northview general manager Josh Chanasyk.
“We do not take this decision lightly, but the safety of our staff, our guests, and our community is our top priority during this difficult time. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to serving you again in safer times.
“This closure includes both golf courses, driving range, practice facilities, restaurants & clubhouse until further notice.”
On Sunday, Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum asked golfers to stay home during the pandemic, and British Columbia Golf backed the appeal in a letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer.
Surrey’s Eaglequest Coyote Creek golf course also closed earlier this week, though Guildford Golf and Country Club remains open. On the Guildford course’s website, a page provides golfers will COVID-19 related updates, including whether or not the course remains open, plus a list of health and safety measures that have been undertaken on site.
As of March 23 – the most recent update – the course was restricting power carts to single riders only, no pull-carts are to be rented out, and all ball washers and rakes have been removed from the course. As well, “holes have been lifted an inch above the ground to eliminate touch point.”
The pro shop has also limited check-ins to two customers at a time, and food and beverage service on the course was also stopped March 22.
– with files from Tom Zillich