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What if there were no sandtraps?

No rakes, mean no bunker shots as courses cope with COVID

LAC LA BICHE - COVID-19 just might lower your golf score. 

With the province allowing golf courses to re-open on May 14 after Coronavirus closures, Lakeland golfers heading back to the fairways are finding that some pandemic precautions might help them out on the scorecard.

"We don't have rakes in any of our bunkers — for contact concerns — so if your ball goes into the sand, you can move it and make your own lie. You'll always have a perfect lie," said Lac La Biche Golf and Country Club head pro Lance Palamaruk.

With restrictions remaining in place regarding cart sharing, contact with the pins on the green, tee times, pro-shop services, driving range use and eating from the clubhouse restaurant, Palamaruk has been pleased with the response from the members and non-members who have been to the course this season.

"There's a lot going on, and the people have been respecting all the rules pretty well," the golf pro said.

While many golfers are pleased to get back into the swing, Palamaruk admits that COVID concerns may be keeping some locals from getting back to the fairways.

"Our paid members have been pretty happy to get back, but our green-fee player numbers are down," he said, explaining that course staff and management are taking every precaution to keep the golf round as safe as they can for all golfers.

Keeping it safe

A disinfectant spray and rinse is used on each cart after each round, social distancing is enforced on the course and in the clubhouse, golfers are only permitted to pre-book tee times, and then, only allowed to arrive at the course 15 minutes before the round. The  Pelican Grill restaurant — this season operated by Lac La Biche's Costa Cafe — is open for takeout and limited capacity seated service.

Course marshals and staff are monitoring the rounds and enforcing the new protocols. In a newsletter to members, Palamaruk says anyone found violating the rules will be kicked off the course. 

"We are in a very serious time and fortunate we can play golf.  We cannot ruin this," he noted.

With the strict adherence to the protocols, all 18 holes open, and especially after two recent days of "much needed" rain followed by sunshine that has greened up the course ... and no bunker worries, Palamaruk hopes more residents will take a swing.

"It's been a different start — but we are ready," he said.

Tee times and payment options can be found online here