4. Adopting creative scheduling to reduce daily staffing levels and limit interactions.
Split shifts where the crew is divided into two independent groups and assigned to work every other day are being implemented at many courses. That way, employee interaction is reduced while still providing them with a certain level of hours and important maintenance tasks can still be achieved.
6. Removal of unessential golf course accessories to limit potential touchpoints.
Many golf courses are eliminating ball washers, bunker rakes, water stations and even flagsticks. A number of golf courses have also made adjustments to the hole itself in an effort to limit touching when picking up a ball. Strategies to prevent balls from dropping down into the hole include turning the hole-liner upside down, raising the liner above the putting surface or placing something into the hole so that a ball cannot roll into it.
7. Updating golf cart and caddie policies for players.
Some golf courses are now assigning each player their own golf cart while other courses have suspended the use of all golf carts for the time being. Additionally, many golf courses with caddies have stopped this service for the time being. Push carts are continuing to be allowed without restriction at most courses, but they are being thoroughly cleaned between each use in the same way that golf carts are.
8. Being prepared for sizeable staff reductions and suspension of all play if required.
There are examples throughout the U.S. where golf courses have temporarily closed to all play. While this may be only necessary in specific locations and under certain situations, golf course superintendents should be prepared for how maintenance practices will need to be adjusted if their course must do the same.
Golf courses throughout the country have been, and will continue to be, impacted by the coronavirus known as COVID-19. Continuously monitor new developments so that you can clearly communicate with employees and golfers. It is important to communicate directly with all staff members regarding their specific roles and responsibilities in prevention planning. The last few weeks have certainly been unprecedented and policy changes could likely be required each day as the situation evolves. As you navigate these uncertain times, please know that the USGA Green Section staff is here to help, as we have been for the past 100 years.