With some restrictions easing in Maryland, the state joined Virginia in allowing golfers on the links starting Thursday.
The result was a busy day for courses that were able to reopen on short notice.
“We feel like kids on Christmas morning right now,” said Michael Kim, senior vice president at P.B. Dye Golf Club in Ijamsville. “The level of excitement is fantastic here.”
He said tee sheets had filled up within hours of Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement Wednesday that golf courses could reopen.
“The response has been great,” said Josh Faldowski, general manager of Blue Mash Golf Course in Laytonsville. He expected 200 golfers in all on Thursday.
“Not quite our maximum capacity, but it’s pretty close. It’s a pretty good day,” he said.
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The moves to reopen come with a host of changes in the name of safety.
At P.B. Dye, “we’ve taped 6-foot measurements wherever necessary, in terms of being able to wait in line, to the extent there are any lines,” Kim said.
Doors to the clubhouse are left open, and only two people are allowed in at any time. The restaurant is closed, with carryout service only.
At Blue Mash, golfers are checked in outside so no one has to enter the clubhouse. Golfers can order food via text and have it brought to them.
At P.B. Dye, Blue Mash and other courses, carts are limited to one golfer. Multiple golfers are allowed if they are members of the same household. Carts are being disinfected after every round of use.
To cut down on germs on other high-touch areas, golfers are told to leave pins in the cup, and the cups have been made more shallow to limit contact when retrieving a ball.
Keith Miller, CEO of the Montgomery County Revenue Authority, which owns and operates nine public courses in the county, said those courses will reopen at 7 a.m. Friday.
Miller said they will use the extra day to get staff rehired and make sure everybody is trained on new safety protocols. Those include making tee times in advance and spreading out those tee times more to promote social distancing.