Golf courses re-opening in Rochester

Local News

If you want to play golf in Rochester, you’re going to have a few places to do it starting Thursday.

Golf courses across New York State were closed Sunday by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s non-essential business shutdown. However, the state parks Covid-19 update page states that courses are now open on Long Island and across the state.

Ravenwood and Eagle Vale will be open as of Thursday morning. Eagle Vale discussed the reasons why they feel it’s safe to be open on their Facebook page. FarView, Chili, Old Hickory and Deerfield will follow suit soon and, possibly, on Thursday.

“We try to tell them the truth is, we’d like to stay open. We’re one of those places where you can be open and outdoors and away from each other so please keep your distance,” says Eagle Vale PGA Professional Chris DeVincentis. “So we’ve also got sheets on the front counter that tell all the different things that we’ve done. I’m sure a lot of people are out here, happy to be out. They’re in a safe place. They’re outside on a 150-acre golf course.”

At Eagle Vale if you’d like, you can call the course, pay over the phone by credit card, and just hop in your cart when you get there for absolutely no interaction with course employees. DeVincentis also says that they’re running with as small of a staff as possible.

Irondequoit, Oak Hill, Monroe and Mendon are among the private clubs also planning to allow play by members soon.

Golf has been viewed as a safer activity since the start of the corona crisis. Social distancing is built into the sport as long as certain conditions are observed.

Courses will be required to promote distancing as much as possible. One rider to a cart will be the policy at many places. Carts and facilities are expected to be cleaned often.

Golfers will be encouraged to pay with credit card. Some places will still leave their pro shop closed and limit payment to online only. Tee times will be restricted to open space between groups and prevent players from congregating by the first tee.

Bunker rakes and ballwashers have been removed from courses. Some clubs are even leaving the cup cut shallow so the ball sits high and can be removed easily when a putt is holed. Players are discouraged from removing the flag.

Ravenwood will operate with a skeleton staff to help keep its employees safe. No word if other courses will follow suit. Maintenance personnel has been allowed on-site throughout the crisis to maintain course conditions.

The Monroe County Health Commission has said that any contact with people outside the home is a risk. A comment from the county was requested in the evening, but there was no response.

Terry Hills in Batavia was already open and hosting players as of Wednesday. Temps are expected to be in the 60’s in Rochester Thursday with a chance of late-day showers. There is no cold weather in the forecast for the next week and Western New York golfers are usually desperate enough to play this time of year that rain won’t keep them away.

They soon will have the chance to get out.

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