While many businesses around the Central Coast were forced to close their doors again as the state takes on a second wave of COVID-19 cases due to the pandemic, there is one type of business that has kept its doors open, golf courses.
The outdoor nature of golf already requires a fair amount of social distancing, especially for those out there hacking away, sending balls shooting across greens and fairways. Local courses have also gone the extra yard in setting COVID-19 precautions to ensure the safety of both their customers and their workers.
North County contains four golf courses. Three of those courses, Hunter Ranch Golf Course, River Oaks, and Paso Robles Golf Club, are in Paso Robles with Chalk Mountain Golf Course in Atascadero. They are all open for business, with some even experiencing an uptick during the pandemic.
Some of the measures being taken include single carts per person sanitized and washed before use. All ball washers are covered up and now you won’t even have to grab a rake after spending some time on the beach as course marshalls and ground crews are repairing the bunkers instead of the public.
Perhaps the most innovative of the changes and, maybe, the only one to outlast the pandemic is the small mechanism placed in the bottom of the cup, keeping patrons from picking the ball out of it. Some courses have a lever you can pull up with your putter to flip your ball out without even bending over while others have placed some styrofoam in the bottom of the cups, but either way, the flagstick must stay in.
Not only are the courses taking precautions around the course but also inside their pro shops.
“We have hand sanitizers all over the place, and our employees are wearing masks, and we have shields up by the bar where people wait to order,” Paso Robles Golf Club Owner Mike Rawister told The Paso Robles Press.
While indoor dining is currently restricted, all four courses have outdoor patios where one can enjoy a beer and a hotdog while counting up their scorecards.
Some of the courses’ top money-saving deals are becoming more popular than ever as avid golfers and amateurs alike are flocking to the courses looking for something to do.
Chalk Mountain Golf Course has continued to offer its $15 Tuesday deals, where you can play 18 holes for less than $20, throughout the pandemic with no end in sight.
With Chalk Mountain, Paso Golf Club, and Hunter Ranch, each providing a traditional golf experience, new players, and those looking for a shorter, quicker experience, have been heading out to River Oaks, specializing in par 3s.
“We are doing a special for $100 a month, and people can play all day every day if they want. Or for $50 a month, you can play after 12 every day,” River Oaks Director of Golf Jim English said. “And business is absolutely booming.”