Weather, more than coronavirus concerns, seems to be the determining factor for the opening of Capital Region golf courses this spring.
More than two dozen courses in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady Counties have opened or have target dates to open within the next few days. A majority of those that are closed are waiting for their courses to dry out.
It is not business as usual for courses that are open. The following are among the social-distancing measures being taken by courses upon opening:
- Extended intervals between tee times
- Clubhouses and pro shops closed
- Rakes, ball washers and coolers removed
- Holes modified with cups above the ground
- Golf carts, if in use, limited to one player
- Emphasis on no club-sharing or handshakes
With rakes being removed from bunkers, some courses have modified rules declaring all sand traps ground under repair and subject to a free lift.
COVID-19 precautions are being taken everywhere, and some courses have chosen to stay closed until further government recommendations are issued.
In a heartfelt post to Facebook, Greg Hennel, owner of Stadium Golf Club in Schenectady, said: “Please know that the decision to open or stay closed has been agonizing for me as I have tried to find a balance between financial stability and public safety. This has been a roller coaster ride from the beginning with changes coming daily. In the end, my conscience prevents me from opening when we are being told to stay home to slow the spread of this disease. I have and will continue to follow the recommendations put forth by State and Federal Government regarding the (coronavirus), so in light of changes to recommendations over the past weekend, Stadium will remain closed until further notice.”
To find the latest on course openings, we made calls and/or checked Facebook to determine the following (courses not listed could not be reached and likely have not opened):
Albany: Driving range is open but not the course.
Capital Hills: “The city of Albany is not opening the course at this time due to the COVID-19,” the voicemail message said.
Hidden Meadows: “We’re working to get the 2020 season underway,” according to the answering machine message. “We hope to do it soon.”
Mill Road Acres: Opened last week.
Normanside: Hoping to open this weekend, with carts, if course dries out.
Orchard Park: Will open April 10. Payment must be online.
Pinehaven: Will open at 9 a.m. Wednesday with carts. Driving range closed.
Shaker Ridge: Opened Saturday.
Town of Colonie: Driving range opened Tuesday. Parts of the 36-hole course will open Friday.
Van Patten: Opened in mid-March.
Western Turnpike: Course will open “soon” but no date is set.
Brunswick Greens: Course opened Friday.
Burden Lake: Course is open.
Dutchaven: Course opened Friday, no riding carts.
Frear Park: Closed for now. Meeting planned Wednesday to discuss situation.
Hoosick Falls: Course is open.
Troy: Course is open.
Airway Meadows: Course opened Friday.
Ballston Spa: Plans to open Friday for members.
Bend of the River: Because of wet conditions, “we are still ways off” from opening.
Brookhaven: “Looking forward to opening soon.”
Eagle Crest: Course opened Friday.
Edison: Opened Saturday.
Galway: Opened in mid-March.
Fairways of Halfmoon: Reopened Thursday.
McGregor: Course will open Thursday.
Mechanicville: Will open Wednesday.
Mohawk River: Course is open.
Pioneer Hills: “Temporarily closed because of the coronavirus and will not be able to open until the government allows us to.”
Saratoga Lake: Hoping to open Saturday, depending upon a bridge on the back nine.
Saratoga National: April 10 is the target date to open.
Saratoga Spa: The main course and the par-29 layout are closed until further notice.
Van Patten: Course is open.
Briar Creek: Course is open. Flagsticks have been removed.
Cobleskill: Course is currently closed.
Iron Works: Course is wet but should be open soon.
Mohawk: Hoping to open at noon Thursday for walkers.
Schenectady Municipal: Currently closed “and will continue to monitor the situation.”
Stadium: Course will remain closed until further notice.
Whispering Pines: Has not opened.
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