BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Some people who need to get outside while also following the rules of social distancing are hitting the links — but Central Oregon golf courses are taking precautions to keep both the golfers and their staff safe amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
While many outdoor recreation areas have been closed to prevent groups of people from gathering, golf courses in Oregon are allowed to remain open.
Many golf courses have implemented changes to enforce social distancing. Courses like Tetherow Golf Course are only allowing members to access the course — no outside guests.
The golf shops are closed, but guests will be assisted by staff if they need to purchase something. Rentals are no longer provided, so you must have your own clubs. No more than one person can ride in a golf cart, unless you’re from the same household.
Tetherow has kept the driving range open, but the grass mats have been spread out farther from each other.
The golf course is also asking anyone who has been outside of the area to self-quarantine for 14 days before coming to the course to play.
Chris Van Der Velde, the managing partner of Tetherow Resort, said Monday the changes they’ve made help members adhere to the governor’s orders while still allowing them to be active.
“I do think that this sport, because it is outside and you’re only playing with four or less, you can keep social distancing,” Van Der Velde said. “I’ve really implored my members and my staff to really pay attention to keeping each other safe and healthy. It is a crazy time, and we’re just trying to get through it like everyone else.”
Tetherow Golf Course is also asking that members not play with people they don’t know. And if they don’t follow the guidelines in place, they won’t be allowed to return to play the course until the social distancing order is lifted.
Lost Tracks Golf Club in Bend has a sign on its front door letting guests know of extra steps to sanitize door handles, bathrooms and equipment.
Course managers are encouraging players to walk while they play, but they do have carts available. If players do opt for carts, they’re being advised to ride alone in them, to practice social distancing.
At this time of year, the club is not fully staffed, which makes it more difficult to stay open with the threat of COVID-19.
“Early in the year, it’s a little bit harder, with the limited staff we have,” Lost Tracks golf professional Pat Cashman said Tuesday. “We aren’t necessarily ready to go for the year, but we’re trying to do everything we can to create a safe environment for people to come and use amidst everything that’s going on.”
The course has also raised its cups an inch off the ground, so golfers don’t have to touch the flag poles.