You’ll find few people in Moose Jaw more excited about Re-Open Saskatchewan right now than Jasmine Cameron and Dwight Bearchell.
Cameron, the general manager at the Hillcrest Golf Club and Bearchell, pro shop manager at the Lynbrook Golf Club, were both over the moon on Thursday after the Government of Saskatchewan announced Phase One of the COVID-19 recovery plan would include the reopening of golf courses across the province as of May 15.
That gives both courses two weeks to get ready, and both were quick to say that when tee time comes, they’ll be ready to go.
For Cameron and the Hillcrest, the news came at the perfect time, even with the myriad of restrictions that will be in place.
“It’ll be a lot different, but honestly the news today is so good,” she said. “We knew we were one of the first businesses in the soft opening of phase one, but we didn’t know what date they were going to throw out. It could have been July 1 or even later.
“So we’re happy, we’re going to follow all protocols to make sure everyone is healthy.”
Naturally, Bearchell carried much the same sentiment.
“We think it’s great,” he said with a tone of happiness and relief. “There’s still some time but it’s nice that we have a definite plan and we can plan to match that plan. They’ve included a whole bunch of rules and it’s good to have them because we want our people to be safe out and the golfer to be safe as well… People have to get some normalcy back in their lives again, but we want everyone to be safe.”
The Lynbrook appears to have wintered well, and their grounds crew have been keeping up with maintenance just in case good news came. Now that it’s arrived, it’s all hands on deck.
Once things do open, it won’t be the same game people are used to. From raised cups your ball has to hit to finish a hole, to 20-minute staggered tee times and rules when it comes to clubhouses, the list is long and encompassing.
Those clubhouse rules are rather ironic, too, considering the situation at the Hillcrest.“It’s disheartening for us, we’re just finishing up our brand new clubhouse,” Cameron said with rueful laugh, referring to the major renovation that added new bathrooms, expanded kitchen facilities and a host of other improvements. “But if we have to wait and it keeps people safe, then it’s all for the best.”
Bearchell is taking much the same approach.
“There’s a long list of rules, but to avoid COVID-19, that’s what we have to do if we want to get out and play,” he said.
The key to it all going forward will be seeing the public continue to take the intelligent and thoughtful approach Saskatchewan has seen throughout the pandemic, ensuring the restrictions don’t come back in place.
“Fingers crossed, too, though, that society still understands the whole social distancing thing,” Cameron said. “We’re lucky enough where our province is at and we’ve been given a green light. But there’s nothing keeping that way, nothing saying that in a months time that if the numbers get bad we’re closed again.
“It’s a huge deal that we all work together with this, but it’s truly a blessing for us to see a date of May 15 for us to open.”
Both golf courses have their offices open and are renewing and taking new memberships, be sure to contact the Hillcrest at (306) 693-1921, the Lynbrook at (306) 692-2838 or check out the Hilcrest or Lynbrook websites for more information.