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Local

Golf courses reopen for business

Must follow new rules to slow spread of coronavirus

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ST. CHARLES – Area golfers are hitting the links again after golf courses were able to reopen on May 1 with strict new safety guidelines put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.

That includes the St. Charles Park District's Pottawatomie Golf Course, which, depending on the weather, would normally open by March 1. The golf course sees an average of about 25,000 golfers during a golf season.

"It's good news and probably even better news for everyone that's kind of been cooped up a bit," said Ron Skubisz, golf course manager and PGA golf pro for the Pottawatomie Golf Course.

Golfers must adhere to new rules, including that players shall be grouped in twosomes and that tee times are spaced 15 minutes apart. Tee Time reservations can be made by calling 630-584-8356 or booking on Golf Now on the golf course’s website, pottawatomiegc.com.

In addition, no golf carts can be used on a course. Individuals with a physical disability or physical limitations that prevent them from walking the course can rent a cart from the golf club.

Practice ranges, chipping greens, and putting greens are also closed in order to limit large gatherings of individuals. And pro shops and club houses will remain closed.

Face coverings are not required at this time. Skubisz said the golf course will strictly enforce the new rules.

"This is a serious time and I think that we have to expect the golfers to follow the guidelines just as we will follow the guidelines that the governor set," he said. "This is for the health and safety of people."

Skubisz anticipates that by the end of the month, Gov. JB Pritzker will announce the restrictions will either be relaxed or maintained.

"It certainly will be based upon the experience with the virus itself in the state," he said. "We're pretty much waiting for the governor to release the next guidelines."

With the golf course opening later than usual, officials are trying to offset the loss in revenues by reducing expenses.

"It certainly isn't us alone out there," Skubisz said. "Everyone is trying to figure out how to deal with all this."

The golf course at the Royal Fox Country Club in St. Charles has also reopened. Members who wanted to play the golf course over the weekend were put into a lottery.

"Because of the rules, we have more members that want to play than space allows, so we had to do a lottery," Royal Fox General Manager Brian Tulk said. "We sent an email to each member asking them when they wanted to play, on which day and how many holes."

Tulk said members feel the new rules are too strict.

"Wisconsin and Indiana are allowing carts, with a single rider," he said.

However, he said people are ready to get back on the golf course.

"Everybody's getting a little cabin fever," Tulk said. "And the weather's been fantastic, unlike the last two springs that we had, when we had a lot of rain in April."

The course at Royal Fox Country Club opened a month later than normal. In past years, it would have opened April 1.

"Typically, April 1 to April 15 is the traditional opening date," Tulk said. "But this year, we had some nice weather around mid-March where we opened for a few days. And then they closed us right after that because of the coronavirus."

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