LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Mallard Cove Golf Course opened for the first time Monday since the Coronavirus outbreak.
Even with social distancing guidelines in place, most were just happy to be there and get some exercise while playing the game they love.
“With golf, you can still keep that distance, and do it safely. As soon as Mallard said they were going to open we were excited,” said Deb Darnutzer.
Golf Pro Deb Darnutzer has been a regular at Mallard Cove for nearly 20 years. She said she was happy to see a crowd return to the game under the new social distancing guidelines.
“With us walking, there’s no need for us to even get within 6 feet," said Darnutzer. "We can still visit and have fun and do what we normally do but be totally safe doing it.”
For the men, most were just happy to have a little friendly competition.
“I was excited and I got to lead our dog fight, that gave me a little more encouragement to come back out and play,” said Marc Lucas.
“You miss the folks you play golf with...you miss the tournaments..matter fact we’re so behind now that we have to make those up," said Men’s Golf Association President “Pat” Lasalle. "So, it puts us in a bad place but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’m so happy for the opening to see all the people I hadn’t seen before.”
Going forward Mallard Cove says it will impose strict social distancing measures for players:
- Credit cards will be the only form of payment accepted at this time and golfers can pay over the phone when scheduling their tee time or in the Pro Shop upon check-in.
- Only four golfers at a time will be allowed in the Pro Shop and a minimum of six feet of distance between patrons will be enforced using designated marked areas.
- The concession area will be open for take-out only to allow for the purchase of pre-packaged snacks and canned drinks. The dining area will be closed.
- Credit cards will be the only form of payment accepted and only four patrons will be allowed inside at a time. A minimum of six feet of distance between patrons will be enforced.
- Customers must enter the Club House from the north entrance point and will be asked to sanitize their hands upon entry. All other access points will be locked.
- Cart usage will be limited to one rider per cart with a maximum of four golf parts per group, however, walking is encouraged.
- Club rentals will be unavailable until further notice. Golfers will be responsible for promptly returning their carts to the south side of the Club House, near the putting green, upon completion of play, and will need to remove their own clubs, personal items, and trash. Carts will be sanitized by Course personnel after each round.
- Flagsticks are to be left in the hole and should not be touched by golfers. Ball washers, bunker rakes, and sand bottles will be removed from the course and carts respectively at this time.
- Golfers are asked to refrain from handshakes, high fives, etc and should not play if they are sick. Regular hand cleansing with hand sanitizer is encouraged throughout play.
- Golf lessons and tournaments are unavailable until further notice.
“From the city standpoint we are assessing the governor’s latest orders and, working on plans to be able to bring more services back online as we receive more direction on what’s to come through government orders,” said City of Lake Charles Spokesperson Katie Harrington.
Harrington says sanitizing will be enforced before entering the Pro Shop and Clubhouse.
In addition, golf carts will be limited to 1 person, with a maximum of four carts per group.
With the recent downtime from play, not only were the golfers eager to brush up on their skills, but most say they were just happy to have a little comradery back in their day.
“Our routine..we’ve missed it because we’ve gotten very close through golf," said Darnutzer.
Operation hours will stay the same. For now, the city suggests that when booking your golf sessions, you do it ahead of time. The club allows reservations of up to 2 days in advance.
Tee times must be arranged ahead of time by calling 491-1204.
Tee times will be set in 10-minute increments to allow for additional spacing between golfers.