Over the past month VIP Golf has maintained contact with several of our partnered golf facilities along with Provincial and National Golf Associations gaining information and asking questions about where and what our golf season is shaping up as. Although Alberta Health Services has labeled golf courses as non-essential and to currently not host public or private play, this does not mean our golf season is over. This means courses are not to open at this moment as several in the Lethbridge area had planned to on Easter weekend. This move was to pause the AB openings for the time being for the evaluation of what golf looks like under covid-19.
The unfortunate chilly spring conditions would have certainly delayed regular course openings this season, most are still a week or so away from being able to open under normal circumstances. This may just be our silver lining and play a crucial role in the green lighting of course openings here in AB. Over 100 golf facilities in BC are currently open and in operation, BC provincial health inspectors have continued to monitor these open facilities and thus far have deemed them to be very safe environments to be in. This is great news for Alberta, with courses in BC now open and operating within acceptable health regulations, Invermere and Cranbrook area courses to open May 1st, Saskatchewan courses to open operations May 4th, Manitoba golf courses green lit to open, PGA TOUR to resume play June8th and with over 80% of US golf courses in operation, it’s extremely encouraging to believe we will be open for play very soon. Tack on that the Alberta government is allowing staff to maintain and prepare courses for play, all adds up to a very promising direction we are headed in.
We are expecting an announcement from the provincial government this week in regards to easing restrictions on some outdoor activities.
NAGA (National Allied Golf Association) or canadagolfs.ca has been working very closely with the AB government and golf courses across the province for over a month now. They have sent recommended guidelines to be in place to make our courses even safer places to be then simply walking down a public city path or sidewalk. As you speak with others regarding the golf situation, it’s important to remember that we are not asking golf be deemed an essential business, rather that golf be deemed a COMPLIANT EXEMPTION to non-essential businesses. Our health advisors have told us to get outside and get exercise in a safe manner, practicing social distancing, this is where GOLF CAN BE PART OF THE SOLUTION and we feel it’s important that we all express that to each other.
You may be aware there is a petition online calling on the government to grant the compliance exemption and allow courses to open. NAGA did not start this petition, however it’s clear that many Albertans are ready to golf with over 40,000 signatures already in just a few days. You can find out more about this by going to the following link: Change.org Petition
We will continue to work closely with courses over the upcoming weeks to make any necessary adjustments we need to make to accommodate any new provisions. These provisions will keep golfers and staff as safe as possible while still being able to partake in the game we love so much and get out to enjoy the fresh air.
Some special provisions that courses will be implementing include:
As you all know, this is a very fluid situation and we will provide the latest updates as plans and procedures continue to evolve. We encourage you to check back on this page daily for updates on the situation and timelines for openings. Golf is unique as it is an individual sport that allows for social distancing as a natural act. With golf courses in BC open and operating and Saskatchewan courses opening May 4th , this is promising news that our courses should get the go-ahead from the province once a mandate of special provisions are in place at all facilities. (Which most already have in place!). As of now we do not know exactly when that will be but we know our provincial golf association, NAGA and several facilities are actively working with the government to make this happen soon and we will keep you as informed as possible.
Many of you have sent questions in regards to less tee times available due to more spacing between groups and how this will effect play. Although more spacing between tee times does reduce the amount of play per venue, even more inventory will become available due to tournament bookings now being eliminated.
While it’s clear to all of us that COVID-19 has deeply impacted our community, we know that this challenging time will pass. We can all do our part to make this reality happen sooner than later by following all government and health official’s advice on best practices and staying home for now if you can.
As we are doing our part, our office has been closed and we will sit in a holding pattern until more information and timelines become available. In the meantime, below are some useful links that may help navigate your questions and/or point you in the right direction to provincial and federal emergency benefit programs currently in place for those in need.
We are very much looking forward to having a 2020 golf season soon and hope you all stay safe and informed during these unprecedented times.
Alberta Golf Association
COVID-19 Updates & Resource Page - https://albertagolf.org/covid-19-updates-resource-page/
Government of Alberta
COVID-19 Info for Albertans - https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
Prevent the Spread - https://www.alberta.ca/prevent-the-spread.aspx
Essential Services - https://www.alberta.ca/essential-services.aspx
National Allied Golf Association
Statement from We Are Golf About COVID-19 - http://canadagolfs.ca/statement-from-we-are-golf-about-covid-19/
PGA of Alberta
Golf Report - March/April Issue - https://issuu.com/igdesignpublishing/docs/apg2004
Terms & Conditions / Membership Refund Policy - https://vipgolf.ca/policies
Questions? Comments? - https://register-vipgolf.ca/ask-us/
VIP Golf Courses
Black Bull Golf Resort - https://blackbullgolf.com/covid-19-update/
Bootleg Gap Golf Course - https://www.bootleggapgolf.com/images/articles/COVID-19_response_overseed.pdf
Elbow Springs Golf Club - https://elbowsprings.com/covid-19/
Highwood Golf Club - https://highwoodgolf.com/homepage_widget/covid19update/
Muirfield Lake Golf Club - https://www.muirfieldlakes.com/post/covid-19
Radium Golf Group - https://www.radiumgolf.ca/covid-19/
River Spirit Golf Club - https://www.riverspiritgolf.com/covid-19/
Windmill Golf Group
Is Golf Safe Druring COVID-19? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dekAUQwQLQw&feature=youtu.be
Information on this page is subject to change without notice