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Players can now hit the greens at Olds and Bowden golf courses

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Olds Golf Club and Bowden Hi-Way Golf Course opened this week. File photo

OLDS-BOWDEN - Golfers have been able to get in some COVID-19 era play at the Olds Golf Club and Bowden Hi-Way Golf Course following the province’s staged relaunch to bring back amenities to pandemic weary Albertans.

The first stage announced last week featured the welcomed news that golf courses can open May 2, with restrictions that include ongoing closures of clubhouses and pro shops. However, on-site shops and restaurants can open in stage 1, which is consistent with other businesses and retailers.

Wade Bearchell, the manager and club pro at the Olds Golf Club, said club officials were a “little caught off guard” with the provincial announcement as they thought it would take longer to have a reopening plan. But there are no complaints.

 “We won’t look a gift horse in the mouth but we’re having to ramp up here very quickly,” he said earlier in the week. "We’re hard at it right now, trying to make sure we’ve got proper safety protocols and the golf course prepared.”

The course opened mid-week adhering to social distancing and safety protocols.

Bearchell said he’s more concerned about what the ongoing restrictions will mean for fundraising tournaments because socialization, drinks and meals are a big part of how they make their money.

Meanwhile, north of town along Highway 2, the nine-hole Bowden Hi-Way Golf Course will opened for the season yesterday (May 8).

“I am definitely shocked that it was so sudden. I was certain it would be at least May 15th or later, like Saskatchewan did. I am happy but it is going to be a busy next few days getting ready to open and the provisions we have to put in place,” said club manager Evan Carr earlier in the week. “We will have restrictions in place and we’ll follow recommended practices that other golf courses are doing and the government has put out.”

With files from Doug Collie

Johnnie Bachusky

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