With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to limit public activities, a wide variety of measures are in place in order to keep things safe as possible on the local course when things kick off with the first tee time at 7 a.m. on May 15.
“It’s going to be a learning process for everyone,” said Hillcrest general manager Jasmine Cameron. “We’ve been dealt these regulations and it’s ongoing every day to figure out how we can make them work best, but until it’s May 15 and we open the doors, we aren’t going to know what works.
“We understand there’s going to be frustration about the rules and regulations, but we just want everyone to understand that it’s not us making the calls, we’re just doing the best we can with this situation… we’re just happy to offer a service to the community so people can just get out of the house and doing something.”
It all starts with tee time booking, beginning this Sunday, May 10 at 6 a.m., both online and by phone. With no walk-ons allowed, all players must book tee-times and are encouraged to create foursomes if possible. The first bookings will be for Hillcrest members only, with non-members able to book three days in advance beginning May 12 at 6 a.m.
Tee times can be booked online through www.hillcrestgolf.ca and paid for online or by phone, with any payments at the course going through debit machines, as cash is not allowed due to provincial guidelines.
Cameron recommends calling in as early as possible, as with 12-minute staggered tee times, there will be far fewer spots available on the course. And if you’re wondering what kind of an effect that has on the course’s bottom line, well, it's better than the original 20-minute stagger that was originally in place -- a level of restriction that had the Hillcrest running at 30 per cent of normal revenue.Regulations are especially strict when it comes to group sizes, with queries in regards to fivesomes being quickly shot down by government officials.
“That’s not allowed at all, and if they find out we’re doing that they’ll close our doors,” Cameron said. “We’ve had a lot of questions about that, and if they see five out there in a group they’ll be coming in to shut us down instantly.”
The good news is, when it comes to the course itself, things are rapidly rounding into shape.
“The greens are gorgeous, they’re looking great,” Cameron said. “We’ve been preparing to open with minimal staff since we’re aware of the budget that we don’t have, but we’ll be at full staff on Monday to get everything ready. Overall, it’s looking great, we just need a little bit of rain and we’re good to go.”