On a normal year, the golf season would be right around the corner. The snow yesterday would push the season back a bit; however, at the end of the day, Parkland golfers would be swinging their clubs in a few weeks at one of the many courses in the region, one of which is the Gilbert Plains Country Club which stands as one of the top courses in the province.
This year; however, is not a normal one because of COVID-19. Currently, all non-essential businesses remain closed until at least April 28 and that's a health order that was put in place by the province. Golf is not seen as essential which has many golfers wondering when and if they'll get to tee it up this season.
Last Thursday, the province announced that provincial parks are allowed to remain open for visitors to walk around and stay active. All restroom facilities and canteens would close, but the point was to give people a place to stay active.
Scott McCallum knows golf will be different this season, but he does believe that courses should be given the go-ahead to open when the weather permits.
"Golf is something that people use to get outside and stay active," said McCallum. "It's an important part of some people’s days that use this as their outing for the day. Of course, we would take the proper precautions to keep things safe, so I think golf courses should open."
When it comes to maintaining the course, Scott has assured that maintenance staff will remain on the grounds to keep everything in top-notch shape, something that golfers are used to when they visit the GPCC. When it comes to tournaments and other events such as men's night and ladies' night; however, Scott knows those may not go ahead and if they do, they certainly will be different.
With tournaments bringing in a large amount of the golf course's income each year, there will be a financial impact also.
"We're preparing for the worst at this time. When it comes to men's night, we're trying to figure out a way to do tee-times instead of a shotgun start," continued McCallum. "We still want to continue with the competition that we offer, but when it comes to having a lot of people in one space, I think that's far down the road."
As mentioned above, the snow that fell yesterday and has continued into today has an effect on when the course would open if this was a normal year anyway.
"We're still two good weeks away from opening," he concluded. "Even if this were a normal year, we wouldn't be open right now."