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Golf courses to reopen Friday

Several local golf courses will reopen for players, with some restrictions, on May 1. (Chronicle file photo)

On Friday, May 1, golfers are expected to play golf courses in Homewood and Flossmoor now that Gov. J.B. Pritzker lifted a ban on golf, with certain limitations.

“Given the cabin fever and the emergence of nice weather, plus the fact that folks have so few activities to engage in, we are expecting a lot of excitement even for this very limited opening,” said John Jacoby, president of the board of directors at Idlewild Country Club in Flossmoor. 

Several local golf courses will reopen for players, with some restrictions, on May 1. (Chronicle file photo)

 

Directions from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity stipulate:

  • Golfers can only tee off in pairs every 15 minutes and must maintain social distancing.
  • No golf carts will be available, and the practice ranges, chipping greens and putting greens remain closed.
  • The cup must be elevated so that golfers don’t reach in to retrieve balls, and the flag at each hole cannot be removed from the cup.
  • Golf course staffing should be kept to a minimum. 

“We certainly understand the rationale of the limitations the governor has put in place. The last thing anyone wants to see is a hot spot developed within their golfing community,” Jacoby said.

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Crews at Coyote Run Golf Course in Flossmoor have the greens ready for Friday’s first tee time at 6:30 a.m. Reservations for play at the course, operated by H-F Park District, will be accepted online at hfparks.com beginning Tuesday, April 28.

With only two golfers allowed to begin the game every 15 minutes, “that’s going to be a little challenging with only eight golfers per hour,” said Debbie Kopas, executive director for the park district.

Golfers will be able to order from a limited food menu online, and pick up their order on the clubhouse patio. The clubhouse will not be open.

George Goich, a partner of Flossmoor Golf Club — formerly Flossmoor Country Club — said members have been calling to inquire about getting on the course.

Goich said the maintenance crew has been working at the club for months, so golfers will find the grounds in good shape. He also said he doesn’t anticipate any problems maintaining the 15-minute buffer between tee times.

“We’ll follow the rules laid out by the state and do the best we can with the restrictions,” he said.

At Idlewild, the grounds crews have been performing routine maintenance throughout the COVID-19 shutdown. They also finished a major drainage project along Butterfield Creek, “and are doing work improving our range,” Jacoby said.

The kitchen staff has been filling carry-out food orders since March. As the course opens, the staff will provide limited food per the state’s guidelines, Jacoby added.

With the club closed, the banquet service has been shut down. Jacoby said at this time of year the club “would usually be hosting events at least three days of the week or more.”

Under the restrictions, the club won’t have any caddies available. 

“Typically we would have 40 or more on site, along with a caddy master,” he explained.

“Hopefully all of us can get back to a more normal existence soon. Getting out in the fresh air and sunshine and enjoying an activity like golf is a good first step.”

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