Yampa Valley Golf Club open, practicing safe social distancing as members hit the links | CraigDailyPress.com

Yampa Valley Golf Club open, practicing safe social distancing as members hit the links

Dan England / Craig Press
The Yampa Valley Golf Club has been open for the last two weeks and is practicing social distancing.
Sheli Steele / Craig Press

As the sun began to melt the frozen tundra of the Yampa Valley Golf Club, the coronavirus emerged and declared another six weeks of winter. 

Perhaps that’s why even more visitors have played at the golf club than usual since it reopened three weeks ago, said Scott Ballif, head golf professional for the club. 

“They are just glad to be here, and they thank us for being open,” Ballif said.

They are the only 18-hole golf course to open in the area, Ballif said, which also explains the larger crowds. The club was ready for the extra traffic, Ballif said, taking several measures to prevent the spread of the virus. It is renting carts and clubs, but the equipment is disinfected with bleach before and after every round, and members can take a cart by themselves, Ballif said.

A few golf alone as well, which the club allows for now. If a foursome drives in the same car, they are allowed to rent one cart, Ballif added. 

“The risk has already been taken at that point,” he said. 

The club also doesn’t allow anyone in the clubhouse. Members rent equipment, pay for rounds and buy snacks and beverages through a window with a credit card. Some members wear masks, but all keep their distance.

“Golf is a naturally socially distancing sport,” Ballif said. “We only allow four per group anyway.”

The cups are upside down as well, so members don’t touch the cup or the flag. Gimmies are allowed, and if the ball hits the cup, it counts.

The club kept members updated with e-mail blasts. As the weather turned warm, more members called for tee times, even during the height of the crises when the club was closed. Now that the club can accommodate them, there are a lot of happy golfers. 

“It was a long, snowy winter for them,” Ballif said. 

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