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Golf offers Rhode Islanders a respite from coronavirus crisis

Local courses remain open by following social distancing measures

By Mike Rego
Posted 4/15/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — Golf courses around the state and locally have attempted to offer some semblance of normalcy during the COVID-19 crisis by remaining open while adhering to the social …

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Golf offers Rhode Islanders a respite from coronavirus crisis

Local courses remain open by following social distancing measures

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Golf courses around the state and locally have attempted to offer some semblance of normalcy during the COVID-19 crisis by remaining open while adhering to the social distancing and sanitary guidelines put into place by Gov. Gina Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Though the Rhode Island Golf Association has canceled its sponsored events through the middle of May, member courses have enacted the mandates to allow for both public and member play, including both the Agawam Hunt Club and Metacomet Country Club. Wannamoisett also is still accepting members-only play and just those who are residents of the state. And the city’s unique gem of the sport, Silver Spring Golf Course, likewise is accepting the paying public for rounds over its six holes off Pawtucket Avenue.

As listed on the RIGA website, further down the East Bay, Montaup in Tiverton and Newport National on the Portsmouth-Middletown line are both open as well. Green Valley, in Portsmouth, also appears to be accepting limited play.

The following is a capsule of measures in place until further notice:

Clubs

  • Should provide workers with protective gloves and any other sanitizing materials
  • Should clean all touchable areas heavily with disinfectant. (Examples: carts and flagsticks)
  • Must follow Rhode Island's directives relating to food and beverage service at their club until told otherwise 
  • Should consider creating more space between groups in tee sheet to avoid overcrowding.
  • Should consider creating a touchless interaction (pay online or with credit card and no cash)
  • Should consider ways to avoid touching anything on the golf course (removing flagsticks, bunker rakes, divot mix boxes, ball washers, raise cup liners or use an object that keeps ball above surface when holed)
  • Should sanitize all carts before and after use

Golfers

  • Should keep a minimum of six feet between others no matter the situation, avoiding contact with others (handshakes, etc.)
  • Anyone who has symptoms or is sick from COVID-19 must stay away from their club at all times
  • Shouldn't pick up any golf balls they find that are not theirs and should not touch flagsticks or any other objects on the course
  • Should only touch their own clubs

Other guidelines put into place by the state departments of Health and Business Regulation include:

  • Out of state residents are not allowed to play golf in Rhode Island
  • All food and beverage must be take-out only
  • Groups of 5 or more must not congregate anywhere on the property before or after playing according to the Governors executive order
  • New Tee Time Policy must be 15 minutes between groups
  • Communicate to members or customers they must stay in their car until 5 minutes before tee time check-in and go directly to the first tee
  • Practice putting green, driving range, and chipping areas must be closed
  • No golf cart usage permitted
  • Personal push carts are allowed only if brought by the golfer; club push carts are not allowed
  • Groups of players are restricted to no more than 4 players at one time
  • All golfers must use their own golf clubs. Sharing golf clubs or rental golf clubs is not allowed
  • Parking lots must be monitored by the club to ensure that tailgating does not happen
  • Retail stores/shops should not be open, in-person retail sales are not allowed
  • Locker rooms, lounge areas, spas, must be closed; Food is available for take-out only.

2020 RIGA schedule
In a statement on its website, the RIGA is canceling all events through May 15 due to COVID-19. The intention is to reschedule each one. Decisions regarding events after May 15 will be determined closer to that time.

The first significant event to be affected by the decision was the 22nd playing of the John P. Burke Memorial Tournament set for Metacomet in city and Wanumetonomy in Middletown on May 4-5. A reschedule date is to be determined.

The next major event still on the schedule is the 71st Four-Ball Championship set for May 19-20 at Potowomut. Also in May, the 26-27, is 26th Senior Four-Ball Championship Net Division at Crestwood in nearby Rehoboth.

The bulk of the RIGA schedule, of course, takes place in the summer, specifically starting in July.

The 99th Junior Amateur Championship is set for Alpine, July 6-9, the 115th Amateur Championship at Pawtucket, July 13-17. The Massachusetts State Amateur is also scheduled for the 13-17 at The Kittansett Club. The following week, July 21-23, the New England Amateur is hoping to tee off at Concord (Mass.) Country Club.

In August, the RIGA majors continue with the 37th Stroke Play Championship at Quinnatisset, Aug. 4-5, with the 89th Rhode Island Open Championship set for Valley Aug. 11-12.

The men’s major championship season then would wind down with the 27th Mid-Amateur Championship at Warwick, Sept. 1-2, and the 62nd Senior Amateur Championship at Triggs Memorial, Sept. 8-9.

The presumed RIGA women’s major championship schedule is: the 99th Junior Amateur, Alpine, July 6-9; Senior Amateur, Valley, July 7; State Amateur, Montaup, July 27-31; and the Stroke Play, Wannamoisett, Aug. 10.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.