No one could have guessed that the biggest problems of 2020 wouldn’t be the perennial challenges Mother Nature throws our way. Learning new operational measures in response to health concerns during a pandemic has been the focus of the golf industry, and as with every obstacle, the resilient individuals that maintain and operate golf courses across the country have risen to the occasion.
Everything from gameplay to check-in procedure and pro-shop operations has been subject to changes to protect the health of employees and staff. As “social distancing” and “slow the spread” have become ubiquitous in all areas of life, golf course staff seem to have settled in to modified operations and are innovating new ways to keep our courses afloat.
Some elements of “the new normal” include:
PPE. More than just for chemical treatments and equipment safety now, PPE is an essential part of keeping staff and members/guests safe. In areas where social distancing is not possible, many clubs are providing disposable masks, hand sanitizer and hand washing stations.
Communication. Now more than ever, we must provide clear, constant communication to keep everyone on the course informed of required precautious. You were already sending out cart rules, now there’s an extra element of operational guidelines. Twitter, automated texts and added signage are just some examples. An informed golfer can make your staff’s job easier and encouraging guests to work with your team can make a better, safer experience for everyone.
Technology. If you weren’t already using technology for reservations, check-in, and payment, there has never been a better time. Some reservation management systems include apps which enable guests to complete these steps on their own phone, further reducing touch points in the clubhouse or golf shop.
Cleaning. This may have been low on the priority list of superintendents and assistants in years past. Isn’t keeping the course clean of weeds and pests enough? Not in the time of COVID! Every staff member from intern to CEO must be aware and diligent about cleanliness. From scheduling and protocols for disinfecting to addressing member concerns about sanitation, this is now an all-hands-on-deck task.
Logistics. It has always been important to keep golfers moving on the course and avoid pileups. But now, tee time spacing and maintenance schedules must be carefully balanced to ensure social distancing. Single rider carts and staggered tee times have been effective measures for safety.
The collaborative and innovative nature of our industry and the professionals that keep it thriving are sure to keep golf essential, no matter what challenges arise.