Links Outings Touted as Essential Recreation; Social Distancing Practices Required
~ by Rick Langenberg ~
The coronavirus scare has crippled commerce, put all residents and health care officials on red alert, and posed major inconveniences.
But oddly enough, the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a boom in nearby recreational opportunities, with area trails experiencing a huge increase in use and canine walking turning into an obsession.
And now this recreational trend will spread to the area’s sole links hangout, Shining Mountain Golf Course and Event Center. Pending any rude outbursts from Mother nature, the 18-hole course in Woodland Park is scheduled to open on April 10. A huge visible painted notice is displayed on the front door and side window of the clubhouse.
Contrary to previous reports, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has listed golf as an essential recreation, meaning that Shining Mountain could emerge as one of the only public outdoor getaways, with connections to the city, that is permitted to operate.
Nope, the rumors aren’t true. Our fine governor wasn’t seen hanging out with President Donald Trump, who is known for his love for a round or three or 50 at his prized golf courses, along with altering his score quite a bit. There is a regular par, and then there is the Trump par, according to a recent book compiled by sports writer and television analyst Rick Reilly. That’s another story entirely.
However, the old cliché about golf is about having fun with your buddies and business acquaintances won’t quite happen these days at Shining Mountain, at least in close quarters.
The course will open, but will adhere to strict social distancing requirements.
Regulations Set For Social Distancing
Here is a list of a few of the regulations, based on a report by Marc Rucker, president of the Shining Mountain Men’s Club Association.
*Only one person can ride in cart unless members of a family are involved.
*Carts should be washed and or wiped down between uses.
*Pin Flags on each hole will be left in for putting, and don’t consider even removing the flag, even if you have the urge to sink a three-footer to win a hole against your partner.
*No sand rakes will be on the course.
*Don’t expect to use ball washers or towel buckets, as that is a no-no and they will be out-of-use.
*If you want to wet a towel to clean golf balls, do it at home before you come.
This is just a short synopsis of the regulations, in lieu of the coronavirus threat. More could be announced in the future.
Regardless of more rules, the announcement of the Shining Mountain opening has been warmly welcomed by local linksters and sports buffs, as many feared the virus would kill the links season. Many players worried that area links outlets would experience the same dilemma as Colorado’s ski resorts. To matters worse, the state and national rules regarding golf courses, in the wake of the coronavirus, have been quite confusing.
The coronavirus scare has seriously impacted professional golf.
Already, all four of the professional golf tours, have temporarily suspended their season until May. And the Master, often regarded as the premiere golf event of the spring, which insiders even describe as the “Kentucky Derby version of championship golf,” has delayed their annual tourney for the first time ever.
On a nationwide basis, golf has been impacted by the coronavirus, but unlike many other sports, it is still operational. According to report in Golf.com News:
“Nearly every corner of the global economy is impacted by the worldwide spread of the coronavirus. While the virus is bad news for most business owners, the golf economy — at least at those courses that are staying open — is chugging along as people look for ways to practice ‘social distancing” outdoors.’ Golf is one of the few sports you can still participate in safely, but it’s equally critical for courses and players to practice caution before, during and after rounds are played. As a result, many courses are stepping up their vigilance in order to combat the possibility of transmission of the coronavirus.”
The popular golf web site notes that some courses are getting quite creative in ways to protect players and employees from the pandemic, such as even raising the cups one inch above the ground, requiring players to retrieve a ball from the cup with a glove, outlawing hand-shakes, and putting bunkers out of play and setting up an honor system box for money, so cash is not handled by course employees.
Probably the biggest safeguard has involved the sanitation and cleaning of golf carts.
Many public courses across the nation are operational, just with more stringent rules. Some abuses have occurred in certain locales, leading to run-ins with the police, but these are considered isolated incidents.
So, following the bout of negative news invading our burg, get ready to tee it up at Shining Mountain.