Strict protocols developed by Interior Health will be in place for Princeton Golf Course members wishing to play. (Spotlight file photo)

Princeton Golf Course to open May 1 for members only

‘Even Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that golf is a good thing’

The Princeton Golf Course (PGC) is set to open May 1 “with strict rules and protocols in place,” according to facility administrator Pam Morphy.

“We’ve been working really hard to make sure this is a safe venue for people to get outdoors,” she said.

The course will be open to members only, and no drop-ins will be accepted.

“Your name has to be on the tee-list.”

Only single riders will be allowed in carts, unless the golfers share a household, and tee times will be spaced by 15 minutes.

A course marshal will patrol the greens, making sure social distancing rules are followed.

The RV park, restaurant and driving range will remain closed.

Related: Golf courses in Shuswap hold varying views, timelines on opening to public

Morphy said the rules have been put in place with the assistance of Interior Health, noting health authority officials were encouraging of the club’s plans.

“Interior Health said it’s good for people’s mental health, and of course golf promotes social distancing at most times anyways…Even Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that golf is a good thing,” said Morphy.

PGC has about 280 members. While many of those people are from out of town, those members are not being encouraged to travel to Princeton. “We are not openly inviting people to come up here. Out-of-town members have been told there is a non-essential travel advisory in place.”

It is unlikey, she added, that out-of-town golfers would venture into the Interior to play, as most of those members would ordinarily stay in the shuttered RV park.

“And they have their own golf courses where they are.”

Related: COVID-19: Some North Okanagan golf courses opening

Morphy said that, like other businesses, the golf course will experience a drop in revenues as a result of COVID-19.

The RV park, which accounts for a good portion of the club’s income, will be closed at least for May and possibly longer. It is unlikely that any tournaments will be held this season.

But memberships continue to be renewed, and there is a contingency fund that can be tapped to see the organization through, she said.

The decision to open was not taken lightly, said Morphy.

“We are doing everything possible (to ensure safety)…and we are getting a lot of good feedback about it.”

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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