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Golf courses, players adjust to social distancing

Golf course.jpg
Posted at 7:13 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 22:18:46-04

PHOENIX, AZ — Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's executive order says golf courses are essential and can stay open as long as they maintain CDC guidelines for social distancing.

Golfer John Waltz says where he plays, the Dobson Ranch Golf Course in Mesa, does just that. "We either walk or take a one per car cart," he said.

Waltz says in his experience golfing is easier to socially distance than hiking or shopping.

"It's far more dangerous going to the grocery store, going to the gas station, going to the Walgreens," he said.

But while ABC15 cameras where there, we observed that golfers seemed pretty close together.

Something we brought up to Director of Sales, Andrew Frazier. "We've definitely seen and heard some of the same things," he said.

Still Frazier says aside from additional cleaning of carts and surfaces, the club does everything it can to keep people apart.

"Anyone that chooses to ride we’re having them go in their own golf cart, “he said. "We've limited the amount of people in the pro shop at a time to four people so everyone has space. Anyone can pay over the phone with credit card over online bookings. Being paid in full you can skip the pro shop and go straight to the first tee."

ABC15 drove around to several courses in the Valley, to see what social distancing looks like.

At Papago Park in Phoenix, some golfers were separated but others were quite close to one another. Officials at that golf course did not get back to us about their policy.

Continental in Scottsdale lays out its guidelines on their website. It explains what to do when you arrive and what precautions to expect on the golf course. Golfers we saw seemed to be following those rules.

But one golfer we spoke to by phone says a different course where he plays in Scottsdale is not consistent about social distancing. "There will be maybe 20 guys who get together, They'll congregate on the first tee," he said.

He sent pictures showing just how close some guys are getting. The man said he believes golf can be done safely but, "That's a responsibility, in my view, of the course to communicate to people that they have to follow these guidelines and I'm sure if communicated golfers would respect it.

Out in Sun City, folks were getting in their last rounds in anticipation of next week's closures. Nearly everyone we saw, was already keeping a safe distance from one another.