Back on course
Golfers have resumed their scenic walks at the Half Moon Bay Golf Links, which closed by health orders back in March. Photo courtesy Bill Murray

With many public and private sporting facilities shuttered, golf is now one of the few mainstream sports still available for play and event planners.

On the Coastside, the Half Moon Bay Golf Links has welcomed a steady flow of golfers ever since it reopened courses on May 4. It had been closed since March 16 due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The Oceanview Driving Range on Kelly Avenue in Half Moon Bay is also open now.

Like most businesses, the links has put in place new operating procedures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Groups are now spaced every 15 minutes, as opposed to 10 minutes before the shelter-in-place orders. Aside from the usual requirements of social distancing and sanitation practices, additional measures include golfers carrying their own clubs, a temporary end to rentals and a limit of four customers at a time in the gift shop. Ball washers and bunker rakes have been removed.

On Saturday, with overcast skies and a slight southerly breeze, dozens of members from the Shamrock Golf Club took to the Oceans Course for one of its monthly tournaments. It had been booked a year in advance. The golfers were grateful to get back on the green.

“The Old Course, the Ocean Course, they’re both great,” said Ricky Grogan. “They’re both so well-maintained.”

Multiple golfers insisted that the outdoor exercise with friends or family made golf an extraordinary means of entertainment and exercise during the shelter-in-place orders. Unlike a basketball or tennis court, golfers don’t have to be close to each other or share equipment. While other major sports leagues have debated playing in an isolated arena, the PGA Tour resumed without fans at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club Fort Worth, Texas, on June 11.

“It’s a great way to get out. The friendship and camaraderie are fun,” said Liam McGill. “It beats sitting in the house all day.”

When asked what he enjoyed about playing at the Half Moon Bay Golf Links, Grogan replied, “The scenery, everything. It takes your mind off how bad you’re playing.”

Correction: This version corrects the site of the PGA Tour's Charles Schwab Challenge to the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

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