The 2020 golf season has started in a way that none of us has ever experienced before.

Now that the weather has turned from spring into summer and with the new stresses that we are all experiencing I have felt an overwhelming desire to get out on a golf course. But like doing so many things in these new times I've wondered if that was a good idea.

According to Cat Clark with Sioux Falls Golf the city of Sioux Falls has partnered with Landscapes Management Company to operate its three municipal golf courses, Elmwood, Prairie Green, and Kuehn Park. And they are utilizing their depth of experience to help navigate keeping the courses open and people safe in this pandemic atmosphere.

This week I went out and golfed my first 9 holes of the season. I took my sticks to the Elmwood golf course out by the airport. Although there was very little activity out on the runways there were a fair amount of folks on the links.

One of the first things I noticed while I was putting on my spikes in the parking lot is that there was no situation of people congregating in groups. There were some well-spaced folks on the practice range and a couple of golfers heading for the clubhouse.

The Elmwood clubhouse itself is closed. You walk around to the north side of the building where they have set up a makeshift check-in window. There is plenty of signage to direct you with the new safety procedures. And the staff as always is very helpful, except now it's from a bit more of a distance away.

Some of the new procedures Sioux Falls Golf has implemented include:

  • Tee times are offered in 12-minute intervals to help with social distancing.
  • Staff monitors and administers arrivals and lines during check in to help reduce exposure between people. Lines are not allowed to form.
  • No food or beverage is available in the clubhouse. Refreshments are available via mobile cart only.
  • They have installed foam inserts in each cup to keep it raised. They ask that no one touches the flagstick and simply count your ball as holed-out if you hit the stick or land it in the shallow hole.
  • Each golf cart steering wheel and seat is sanitized before and after each use.

Hats off to the course staff and crew for going to all the efforts in innovating these safety standards. It was a much needed 9 holes of socially distant golf therapy.

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