Grand Strand golf courses taking precautions, remaining open during pandemic

Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 5:38 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - For those itching to get out of the house during the coronavirus outbreak, the golf course may help folks stay active while also maintaining social distance.

“This is our peak season, without question," said Steve Mays, president of Founders Group International, which perates 21 golf courses around the Myrtle Beach area.

The group has handed down new operating procedures in the face of the potential spread of the novel coronavirus.

"So as long as we can alleviate those touch points between our guests and our team members, that makes it as healthy and as sanitized an environment as we can provide,” Mays said.

Starting Wednesday, golfers are instructed not to touch the flags or rake bunkers. Meanwhile, near the clubhouse, course staff is now mandated to wear gloves while handling golf bags, and sanitize and wash golf carts after each use.

“It’s the right thing to do. I’m sorry we didn’t start it earlier," says Martha Dickson after finishing her 18th hole. “I want this whole pandemic thing over just as fast as everyone else.”

FGI officials said restaurant staff took the biggest brunt of the regulations handed down by Tuesday by S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, who ordered all restaurants and bars to close their dining rooms. However, course cafeterias remain open in a limited capacity for take-out and outdoor seating.

How long the links continue to serve as a sense of normalcy is still unknown.

“I’m safer here than anywhere else," said Jim Zuna, an amateur golfer.

“Tomorrow may be a different decision than we’re making today. But as of right now, we feel like remaining open is a healthy alternative for people who are in town today," Mays said.

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