No rakes in the bunkers. Cups turned upside down and flagsticks left in the holes. Buddies giving their friends those testy 3-footers.
Golf continues in Coos County at Coos Golf Club, Bandon Crossings and Sunset Bay Golf Course — albeit with adjustments.
The golf courses are doing what they have to do to stay open.
Coos Golf Club, located five miles south of Coos Bay, has removed all the bunker rakes from the course and covered all ball washers and asked golfers to keep from using them.
Bandon Crossings had flipped the cups inside the holes over so they holes are shallow and golfers can easily pick up their balls without touching the flag sticks.
And at Coos Golf Club, owner Andre Liloc said golfers are encouraged to provide playing partners with gimmies on short puts “especially since the USGA has adjusted their handicap rules to allow this for the time being.”
Both courses are asking golfers to maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing. Bandon Crossings is asking golfers to pay in advance either by phone or through the website to limit contact with people in the clubhouse.
At Coos Golf Club, the golfers who use power carts are restricted to one rider, unless both golfers are family members. At Bandon Crossings, family members or golfers who arrive in the same car are allowed to use the same cart. Both courses are thoroughly cleaning the carts after every use.
Golfers aren’t allowed to gather to visit before or after their rounds.
The owners are thrilled to be able to stay open and keep providing the recreational opportunity.
“We’re grateful that we can provide an outside venue to have people for a little bit forget all of the troubles in their lives and throughout the world,” said Rex Smith, who owns the golf course south of Bandon with his wife Carla. “We’re making every effort we can to provide a quality experience while reducing the person-to-person contact.”
Liloc made a similar observation.
“We’ve posted signs everywhere around the pro shop to remind any of our guests about (the new) rules,” he said. “We’ll stay open as long as we can since golf courses are deemed OK as long as strong social distancing measures are taken and followed.”
Bandon Crossings has changed its hours to opening at 9 a.m. and requires carts to be in by 4 p.m.
Coos Golf Club and Sunset Bay Golf Course, a nine-hole course near Charleston that takes tee times on a first-come, first-served basis, haven’t cut back on their hours, though Liloc said it’s something Coos Golf Club is considering.
One thing that doesn’t change is the nature of golf, Rex Smith said.
“Mercifully, when you’re out on the golf course it is pretty easy to forget there are other problems right after your double-bogey,” he said.
And as Carla Smith pointed out, being active remains vital and golf is a good way to stay active.
“We are pleased that outdoor exercise is encouraged,” she said. “Our long-term physical and mental health depends on keeping active and is benefited from being outside in a green and healthy environment.”