ATHABASCA - There’s still snow on the ground, with a fair amount arriving just last week, but we all know it will soon melt and thoughts of hitting the links will be top of mind for avid golfers across the region.
However, like most recreation and sports opportunities across the region, and the globe, the 2020 golf season may require a mulligan, due to the restrictions put in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
“We really are waiting to see what’s going on,” said Peter Golanski, president of the Skeleton Lake Golf & Country Club executive board. “Our trigger point is going to be: when do the golf courses in Calgary get started and what are they going to do?”
Generally, the course opens to the public in early to mid-May, but he noted there are a few different options to consider going forward for the nine-hole, not-for-profit course, east of Boyle in Athabasca County.
Some of the B.C. courses he has spoken to are still operating and letting people go out on the course to golf. Only one person is allowed in a cart though. They are also washing down the carts after each use to keep them disinfected for the next player.
While that’s all well and good, said Golanski, with restaurants unable to seat patrons and no liquor sales, the loss of revenue at a small course like Skeleton Lake, would make things difficult, so whether it should be opened at all is still very much in the air.
He added that while some staff have been lined up, but no commitment to employ them can be made at this point. Typically, there are five on the grounds crew, two full-time cooks, and four attendants.
“What we will do though, when the weather decides to break, we will ensure that we have one or two groundskeepers available to make sure the water drains properly,” said Golanski, adding that a few low spots can really cause havoc in the spring.
He is wishfully hoping the course will be ready by the May long weekend, as closure of the course for the whole season would have lasting consequences on the future operations of the course.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen, but we do plan on opening this year, even if it’s just a two or three month season.”
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