BANDON — Bandon Dunes Golf Resort reopened with new safety measures in place on Monday, adjusting to the coronavirus pandemic while sharing the joy of golfers able to return to the renowned destination.
While the business was a little slow early in the week, it will pick up quickly heading into what is expected to be a busy summer.
“We’re going to get into some bigger numbers starting June 1,” General Manager Don Crowe said. “We have a solid summer ahead of us.”
That includes the U.S. Amateur in August, which the resort has been planning for several years. And before that, the highly anticipated opening of Sheep Ranch, the resort’s fifth 18-hole course, on June 1.
“We’re fortunate to have Sheep Ranch opening this year,” said Michael Chupka, the resort’s director of communications.
A limited number of golfers are getting a sneak peek at the new course the next few weeks — 32 guests a day — and are excited by what they see.
“Even today, when the weather isn’t good, they are through the moon (with their comments),” said Nick Bonander, the head pro at the new course, on a windy and rainy Tuesday afternoon.
The best review so far, he said, came from an 8-year-old golfer who called the course “triple awesome.”
The upbeat comment matched the attitude of people just getting the chance to return to the resort after it was closed for well over a month, the first closure in its 21-year history.
“People are ecstatic to be here,” Crowe said.
The guests arrived to find staff members wearing face masks and encouraging them to do the same.
Plexiglass shields separate customers from workers at counters and drivers from passengers on the resort’s many shuttle buses. There are limits to how many people can be in the golf shops at any given time.
And when the resort reopened, food service was in take-out form only, and available only at the lodge and McKee’s pub.
On Friday, restaurants in Coos County were allowed to reopen to limited seating and resort officials were sorting out plans to reopen the other dining rooms on site.
The resort’s management team spent the weeks leading up to the reopening in preparation, including implementing the various safety measures.
People planning to visit have been able to get updates on all the various measures through the resort’s website.
“We’re super proud of that,” Crowe said of the website and its multi-page document with all the measures in place.
The entry booths on both roads into the resort are being staffed as well, with a greeter to make sure guests know safety precautions at the resort.
In addition, safety signs have been posted on all the doors heading into the lodge and various shops and other buildings on site.
Hand washing stations have been put up in many areas as well and, as much as possible given the sometimes challenging weather, doors are being kept propped open.
“We are trying to limit as many touch places as possible,” Chupka said.
Bandon Dunes officials also are in the process of having all of the hundreds of staff members go through formal training, including watching a video a few employees at a time.
Crowe said the staff has been receptive to the changes and the need for the safety measures.
Staff members also have been talking with the guests.
“We are listening to the guests and their questions — what is important to the guests,” Chupka said.
It’s all part of the process of reopening in what will become the new normal.
“We’re just living and learning every day,” Chupka said.