Palm Springs became the last city in the Coachella Valley to allow golfers to get back onto courses this week.
In the last week of April, courses in Palm Desert, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells re-opened with operations modified to be a safe for golfers and staff alike. The openings were allowed after the Riverside County Dept. of Health modified its March order on April 20th to allow courses to start operating again with conditions such as wearing facemasks and single riders per cart unless the golfers were living together.
Last week, the Palm Springs City Council lifted its restriction on golf and tennis courts.
The experience at service-focused courses such as the Indian Wells Resort will be dramatically different. All payment must be made online or by phone when reserving the tee times. The pro shop will be closed. Tee times will have 20-minute spacings instead of the normal 10 minutes.
Missing will be the helpful attendants who unload your club and take them down and place them on your cart. Instead, there’s a designated bag drop at the south edge of the clubhouse. After dropping your clubs, it’s up to you to park and then find the golf cart with your tee time. Carts will be limited to one rider unless the golfers live together.
The starter will be the only employee you likely will encountered other than the staff providing the to-go food at the food truck.
Pins will remain in the hole and they are touchless to allow balls to be retrieved. The beverage carts will take credit cards only and each person will have their own water bottle, card and pencil. Rakes have been removed from bunkers as have the ball washers and anything else that could be touched.
Its sister Troon-managed course, Classic Club in Indio, is targeting a May 15 opening, while the two courses at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage are back to operating—again with the COVID-19 modified. The same is true for the PGA West public and private courses in La Quinta as well as Silver Rock.
Restrictions vary and, given that lodging properties remain closed, play will be restricted to locals. Here’s betting that people will just be delighted to be back on the golf course and out of their homes to play the game they love.
By Tim Hunt