Bandon Dunes

A golfer watches his ball fly up the fairway on the first hole at the Old MacDonald course last May. 

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BANDON — While the impacts of the coronavirus are being felt throughout Oregon and the United States, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, one of the South Coast’s biggest employers, remains open for business.

“We continue to monitor the situation very closely,” Bandon Dunes General Manager Don Crowe said by email last week. “Today, Bandon Dunes remains open because of the incredible efforts of our resort team to adjust our operations to protect the health and safety of our guests and our employees. That is our highest priority.

“We have implemented increased sanitation measures throughout the resort and we have moved our food and beverage operations to take out and grab-and-go offerings.”

The resort has put in place practices including cleaning work stations, as well as door handles, phones, refrigerators, hand rails, cash machines, restrooms, common areas and flat surfaces several times every day. In addition, all golf and retail operations are now being run out of the Bandon Dunes Golf Shop and the Lodge Shop, with the other retail outlets closed.

But the resort continues to operate all its restaurants with take-out dining options and has not had to reduce its work force, Crowe said.

“We have not laid off any staff,” he said. “And we continue to pay staff who need to take time off for sickness or to take care of children while schools are closed.”

It’s too early to see the impact of the coronavirus on how busy the resort will be during the summer, Crowe said.

“We’ve seen some cancellations during this process, mostly from international travelers and those from out of state, but it’s too soon for us to make any comparisons,” he said.

Some golfers, he said, have rescheduled trips for later in the year.

Those who have made the trip to the resort have been grateful, Crowe said.

“We’re hearing positive feedback from guests who are thankful we are open and appreciate the fact that we have taken such serious precautions to protect them in this situation,” he said.

The resort has stayed busy because of golfers from the region who make up much of the play during this time of year.

“We’ve been fortunate to have such great support from our guests, who continue to join us, and our staff, who are committed to helping us move forward during this challenging time,” Crowe said. “With the right precautions, we feel that golf can provide a much-needed outlet during this time while following recommendations for social distancing.”

The resort is nearing what normally is its busiest season, while also keeping an eye on its most anticipated event to date, the U.S. Amateur, which is scheduled for August.

The United States Golf Association has not made any decisions about the amateur. The organization did cancel both the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, which was scheduled for April 25-29, and the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, scheduled for May 23-27. In addition, qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open and local (first-round) qualifying for the U.S. Open were canceled, though those events remain on the schedule.

“At this time, it’s premature to speculate what might occur with other 2020 USGA championships,” reads as statement on the USGA website. “We will continue to monitor all available guidance and regulations from the CDC, WHO and other federal, state and local authorities to do what is in the best interests of our community.

“We appreciate everyone’s understanding during these unprecedented times.”

Crowe said resort officials and the USGA are discussing the situation frequently.

“We are in contact with the USGA on a weekly basis as part of the general planning process for a major amateur championship,” he said. “And we will continue to stay in close contact with the USGA to monitor this evolving situation.”

Meanwhile, Crowe hopes the resort can continue operations amid increased recommendations for people to stay home.

“We are doing our best to stay open and support everyone on the South Coast,” he said.

Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at worldsports1@countrymedia.net. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.

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