Bruce Graf had the honour of striking the first shot at the Smithers Golf and Country Club to open the 2019 golf season. Thom Barker photo

Smithers Golf and Country Club to open

Course will be open with precautions

The Smithers Golf and Country Club is cautiously opening up for the season on Thursday with a few restrictions.

There has been no provincial directive for the fairways to be closed during the COVID-19 pandemic as long as social distancing can be practised and any commonly touched items are frequently cleaned and sanitized.

Many precautions will be put in place to help stop the spread of the virus and keep the course open.

Ball-washing stations on the course have been shut-down, as has the course’s driving range.

On the course and at practice areas, ball washers, fountains, rakes and pins have been removed or shut down. Motorized golf carts are also restricted to single occupants unless those occupants are members of the same household. Also, a maximum of three will be allowed in a group.

The club house will be closed and members who have already paid for a locker will get a refund.

The pro-shop will be locked but transactions will be conducted through the window.

“The building itself won’t be used except for by myself selling stuff out the front window,” said Pro John Pierce.

He said players must follow the rules so the course can stay open.

“We will monitor it with a marshall or myself,” Pierce added. “We will be driving around and if we see anyone breaking the rules they will be asked to leave and it will be documented.”

Pierce said he has been selling memberships but it is too early to tell if less people will be golfing this year because of the pandemic.

“We are doing pretty good on our memberships so far but we aren’t up to the numbers we had last year,” he said. “Last year, at the end of the year we had 430 members and we pushing 200 right now but May and June are when we get most of our memberships.”

New this year, payment plans for membership dues will be offered. Golfers will have until June 31 to pay for it, if they want and can break it up however they like.

He added the course is looking pretty good right now.

“For the winter we had I thought it would be worse but it is quite nice out there,” he said. “We will start on the back nine. There are a couple of greens on the front that need a little more growing so we’ll give them a week of growing. So we’ll have one week on the back nine and then we’ll open all 18.”

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