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Governor Walz lifts restrictions on Minnesota golf courses
Soldiers Field and Eastwood to open as weather allows with golfers adhering to public health guidelines
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced today that restrictions placed on golf courses will be relaxed effective Saturday, April 18, 2020.
“It’s important for us to stay active and enjoy the outdoors while preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Walz. “This measure will allow Minnesotans to take advantage of more opportunities to get outside, while still doing their part to keep their neighbors healthy.”
Due to the recent snowstorm, the City of Rochester’s four municipal golf courses are not yet ready for play. With good weather, the courses should be ready in 7-10 days.
Paul Widman, Director of Parks and Recreation, shared concerns related to the demand for golf this season. “We have heard from many avid golfers who are anxious to get back in the game,” said Widman. “We also need to face the reality that many golfers may opt-out or reduce play this season due to the economic impacts of the pandemic.”
Opening golf courses during a time when the Emergency Operations Center is active requires a heightened level of preparedness. Parks and Recreation team members are working directly with the Emergency Operations Center to ensure that all COVID-19 modifications meet the approval of local public health and safety officials.
Widman said the Parks Department will evaluate demand and consider whether all four courses are needed this year. Soldiers Field will open first followed by Eastwood Golf Course. Northern Hills and Hadley Creek will open if there is demand to support additional play. The decision to open all four courses will also be based on the Parks and Recreation Department’s ability to keep up with safety modifications that will be in place this year.
Widman emphasized health and safety in the plans to open the courses. “We will announce the opening date of Soldiers Field Golf Couse as soon the course conditions improve and, more importantly, when we are confident that golf can be managed safely during the challenges we face this season.”
Golf is an activity adaptable to social distancing requirements. By modifying some elements of the game, golfers can easily stay 6-10 feet apart and follow other COVID-19 precautions during play.
The City of Rochester Parks and Recreation Department will be using guidelines developed by the National Golf Foundation in response to COVID-19. These guidelines include:
- Scheduling tee-times 12-15 minutes apart so golfers can spread out.
- Reducing clubhouse services. No gathering in the clubhouse.
- One rider per golf cart, or walk the course.
- Modifying or removing high-touch equipment on courses, such as benches, ball-washers, and bunker rakes.
- Golfers bring their own pencils. No scorecards will be provided.
- Hole cups will be raised. Balls will hit the side of the cup rather than dropping in the cup.
- Limiting the hours of operation so staff can clean and sanitize facilities and equipment.
- Payment by credit card, preferably online.
Rather than implementing the 2020 price increases that were planned for this year, golf passes and greens fees will be offered at the 2019 rates.