The reopening of the Mount Brenton Golf Course in Chemainus has been a godsend for members and guests alike to bring some sanity into a world reeling from the current COVID-19 crisis.
The closure at the course was lifted for members Friday after a board of directors decision. Green fee players were welcome to book times as of Monday this week.
The course has been busy, as people are looking to ease their minds from the constant coronavirus barrage and enjoy an activity where they can easily stay socially distanced. Mount Brenton has implemented many measures that must be followed in the wake of COVID-19, but the basic game remains the same.
“It’s working well,” said Mount Brenton pro Jan Best. “We spaced out our tee times quite a bit. We have less tee times available.
“The big thing is no one at all is allowed to come more than a couple of minutes early. There’s no one hanging around. It’s been good so far.”
Tony Smith of Chemainus had already played rounds Friday and Saturday since the restart before heading onto the course again Monday in a group with fellow Chemainus residents Earl (The Pearl) Blom and Greg Rachwalski and Ladysmith’s Bruce Greenhill, a member of the board of directors.
“It was wonderful,” said Smith about getting back to playing again. “The course is in good shape.
“I’m single and I live alone, what else am I going to do? It kills 4-5 hours of the day. We’ll get through this.”
Greenhill was part of the board that made the difficult initial decision to close the course as of March 24, even though provincial medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had not issued a notice for golf to shut down. The directive instead was taken from BC Golf and Golf Canada recommendations.
The board wrestled with the reopening decision before deeming it safe to do so with numerous conditions.
“It was very interesting,” conceded Greenhill. “Anybody can make up their own mind. As I said to one person, ‘if you don’t think it’s safe to play, please don’t play.’”
Most feel golf is tailor-made for distancing and gives people something to look forward to during a time when so many pleasures in life have been taken away temporarily as safeguards.
“Everybody understands the social distancing,” said Blom. “This is the perfect place to get out and play.”
“We’re excited to have it back,” Rachwalski replied.
“The way they have it set up now with the raised cups, there’s no chance of anything else going on there. I’m surprised there’s more courses haven’t opened up yet.”
Some courses around the province never shut down. Without a provincial directive, it was up to the boards or the owners of the individual courses.
“I think they’ve covered everything,” reasoned Smith. “One of these days hopefully we’ll get back to normal.
“It’s obviously a difficult time. The golf industry is in a very critical situation right now world wide.”