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Petition calls for Alberta government to open golf courses

Last Updated Apr 13, 2020 at 7:59 pm MST

A golfer hits the ball while in the bunker at a course in the summer of 2018. (CREDIT: Alberta Golf, Facebook)

As the weather warms up, the Alberta government is facing increasing pressure to allow golf courses to open.

Golf courses have been deemed a non-essential service and many have been ordered to close across the province.

READ MOREMore closures and restrictions handed down by Alberta government

However, some provinces like British Columbia are allowing courses to stay open with strict physical distancing protocols in place.

That’s prompting Alberta Golf to lobby the province to do the same here and allow golfers the chance to hit the fairways.

Dave Callum is general manager at Fort McMurray Golf Club.

He also is a board member of the National Golf Owners Association.

He said he supported the online petition, but points at ongoing discussions between Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the sport’s governing bodies.

“Superintendents, golf pros, [Alberta Golf] are all working with AHS right now are coming up with parameters to be able to get everybody to operate safely.”

Callum said he believes a concerned Albertan started the petition, adding he has his ear to the ground when it comes to the discussions.

While Fort McMurray Golf Club remains closed to the public, Callum said critical staff maintain the grounds.

“The maintenance has to go into the golf course, whether you’re open or closed, and in the club house all our merchandise is coming in for the pro shop. We’re getting everything set for whenever Opening Day will be.”

Alberta Golf said the sport already takes physical distancing into account.

Gameplay separates players by 10-15 minutes and the flow of the game is likely more regulated than measures currently in place at grocery stores.

The group will also implement a limit of two golfers per hole, instead of the usual four, and close all beverage services, pro-shops, and restaurants.

Callum said a lot of work goes into getting all the groups to agree on a set of regulations.

“[PGA], Alberta Golf, the superintendents that deal with turf, food and beverage operations, and pro shops are retail so you have a lot of things going on under one property. It’s how you do it safely is of the upmost concern.”

Callum said he hopes parameters will be in play at the beginning of May.

An online petition has already been launched and surpassed the original goal of 7,500 signatures as of Monday morning.

The article includes excerpts from 660 News.