A sunny spring day saw dozens of golfers lined up at the Belmont Golf Course in Fort Langley on Saturday, March 21. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

A sunny spring day saw dozens of golfers lined up at the Belmont Golf Course in Fort Langley on Saturday, March 21. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

All golf courses in the province should be closed to prevent virus spreading, British Columbia Golf says

One golf course operator blasts call as “overstepping”

A call to close all golf courses in B.C. during the COVID-19 outbreak has been made by British Columbia Golf, the organization that speaks for amateur golfers in the province.

“Golf is a game that naturally encourages social distancing. By changing the way that we operate, adding new procedures and policies, and increasing our sanitation expectations, we want to continue to be a place of solace for golfers during this very difficult time.”

In his letter to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Sunday, March 22nd, British Columbia Golf executive director Kris Jonasson said all play should be suspended, but maintenance staff at the golf courses should be allowed to maintain them during the shutdown, provided they follow proper safety precautions.

“Nobody should play golf at this time,” Jonasson told the Langley Advance Times.

The call was made the day after a bright and sunny Saturday drew large number of golfers to Lower Mainland courses, with many players failing to follow the two-metre separation called for by heath experts.

“We’ve seen too many examples of people not following the guideline,” Jonasson said.

“It was just becoming increasingly clear that no one was respecting social distancing.”

READ MORE: B.C. announces $5 billion financial relief for COVID-19 pandemic

It did not go over well with Doug Hawley, managing director of the Redwoods Golf Course in Langley, who said the organization was “overstepping.”

“I am shocked that a statement like this has gone forward without any consultation with actual golf course operators,” Hawley commented Monday, March 23rd.

“For BC Golf Association to speak out on behalf of golf courses, rather than to the amateur golfer community, feels as though they are overstepping.” Hawley added.

Hawley said Redwoods has implemented “many new policies and procedures to not only ensure our team members are safe, but that all of our guests on the property are safe as well.”

Governed by the British Columbia Golf Association (BCGA), British Columbia Golf is the governing body of amateur golf in British Columbia, representing more than 56,000 members at over 300 clubs across the province.

On Sunday, Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum said golfers should stay home.

“I think it’s really a normal thought to see golf as a great activity with regards to some of the social distancing guidelines that were given, but I would give further thought to the fact that it’s a lot more interactive than you may think at the outset,” said Applebaum.

“Everyone has to do their duty to not come into contact with others,” Applebaum added.

READ MORE: Langley City, Township, and school district close playgrounds to the public

When the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11th, the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour cancelled or postponed events at all levels of competition.

Golf Canada is expected to cancel or postpone all of its official events and training camps up to mid-May.

Authorities in New Brunswick and Quebec have closed all recreational facilities in those provinces, including all public and private golf courses.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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