Anne Arundel County is blessed with five beautiful golf courses that are doing their best to ensure that golfers get full enjoyment of the sport while staying safe from Covid-19. These courses, Renditions, The Golf Club at South River, Compass Pointe, the US Naval Academy Golf Course, and Chartwell Golf and Country Club, were among the first businesses in the county to reopen after Governor Hogan’s orders to control the pandemic were put in place.
Teeing Up a Response to Covid
Golf, an outdoor activity that doesn’t require a team, provides the foundation for a safe, fun environment as long as golf courses follow the CDC guidelines and the governor’s rules. According to Steve Peterson, the manager of Renditions, “I can tell you that reopening golf from the Covid shutdown was very challenging. When we first opened, entry into the clubhouse was not allowed. We had to find a way to set up a computer and checking area outside. The Club also had a strict policy of one person per cart. We have signage for mask usage, sanitizer stations, gloves for staff, and cart sanitizing procedures. Over time as guidance changed, we opened the clubhouse and have small events within County guidance and restrictions.”
Beth Prensky, membership director at The Golf Club at South River, commented that, “The biggest change has been removing touchpoints, both indoors and out, and the single rider rule to ensure the safety of members on and off the golf course. We have changed social event offerings to ensure they are following the separation guidelines and kept to under 50 attendees.”
Golf Surges in Popularity
Public confidence in the safety protocols that the golf courses put in place during Covid caused interest in golf to mushroom. Steve said, “the amount golf being played once restrictions were lifted has been through the roof. I think we brought a lot of players who were drifting away from the game back into being regular players.” Beth said, “There is more interest in the game of golf than there has been in recent memory. Families are looking for safe outdoor activities, especially with other activities now restricted and less personal or work travel. We have full tee sheets most every weekend and very active tee sheets during the week.”
Golf is a great example of how consumer confidence in the response by business and local government to the pandemic, can achieve a new normal that matches or surpasses previous levels of consumer demand and customer service. Beth noted, “The Club provides members with a safe haven to go and relax, and we try to keep it that way as much as possible. Our members and especially the senior golfers in large part absolutely understand and believe that the social distancing standards we are following are integral to keeping them healthy. and to keeping the golf club operating and providing them with something fun and social to do with their free time.”
Safety on the Course and in the Clubhouse
What steps are our golf courses taking to allow the golfer to feel safe to meet the already considerable challenges of shooting par or, okay, bogey? The courses screen employees daily, require employees and patrons to wear masks and socially distance, disinfect carts and other high touch areas after each use, and allow prepayment for tee times. Golfers bring their own water and leave flagsticks in the hole to further reduce touch points. See the websites of Compass Pointe and Renditions for course specific Covid policies.
Beth sees a silver lining to the cloud cast by Covid, “The silver lining is we are open, members are golfing and here at the Club socializing—albeit distantly—with their friends, their families, and loved ones. We are following restrictions and still able to operate the Club and be at our members’ service.” All in spite of Covid.
So, dear reader, what are you waiting for? Go, play!