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Mar 27

JCPRD golf courses to reopen with new safety measures on Monday, March 30

Posted on March 27, 2020 at 4:22 PM by Becky Burnside

Less than a week after initially closing its two golf courses over concerns about COVID-19, JCPRD is reopening the facilities with new safety measures which allow for a "touchless golf experience."

The Heritage Park and Tomahawk Hills golf courses initially closed on Tuesday, March 24, and are set to reopen on Monday, March 30, and will offer daily tee times between 8 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. To get started, book a tee time for either course online at JCPRD.com or Teequest.com, or by calling (913) 829-4653 for Heritage, or (913) 631-8000 for Tomahawk Hills. Regular in-season rates apply.

"With the current recommendations from the CDC involving social distancing, we were able to identify a number of specific instances where the typical game could be modified to reduce personal contact and embrace social distancing," said Assistant Superintendent of Parks and Golf Courses Devin Wetzel. "Simple things such as removing bunker rakes and ball washers, reducing tee times, and using individual golf carts provide a way to get outside and move without the need to have close contact with people." 

The new measures have been reviewed and approved by Johnson County Health Officer and the Director of the Johnson County Health and Environment. In addition to requiring social distancing of at least six feet, and only one player per cart with the carts being sanitized after each use, the new  measures call for online payments, no indoor or outdoor seating at the courses, a 50 percent reduction in tee times to increase distancing, and the use of modified and raised holes that utilize the "touch and in" method, and eliminate the need to remove golf balls from the hole. This method will also apply to the practice green and chipping areas. Bunkers will be played as “ground under repair,” and rakes have been removed. 

Typical tee times of eight to nine minutes will be increased to 16 to 20 minutes to put more distance between players and to lessen the chances of golfers meeting during their round. Players starting after 2 p.m. will be limited to nine holes. Driving ranges will also be open and will follow the same online payment process as tee times. All receipts will be provided via e-mail.

Neither course's pro shop will be open during this time, At Heritage Park, restrooms will be available within the Green Room adjacent to the pro shop in addition to the restroom located on the course.  At Tomahawk Hills, the patrons will be able to access the clubhouse restroom but will not be allowed to enter the employee area or the front desk.  Limited concessions will be available only by calling the course numbers listed above, and paying by phone.  Pick up instructions will be provided during the call.

Amenities including ball washers, water coolers, benches, scorecards and pencils, and bag stands will not be available on the course. Leagues and instructional lessons will not be offered at this time. Golf balls and baskets will be sanitized after each use. 

Wetzel explained how the new system will work.

"Upon arrival, golfers will be directed to the outdoor staging area where they will be able to check in with a staff person while at a safe distance," he said. "Staff will reference the tee sheets showing the names and times of the golfers checking in.  Anybody who is attempting to walk in and pay will be greeted with signage instructing them to call or pay online."

The new safety measures were created in cooperation with other local golf professionals.

"Touch free golf is a good example of how a local industry can communicate and work together to handle adversity," Wetzel said. "The golf industry consists of professionals that work with each other and share ideas for the betterment of the game. Our staff was in contact with other city, county, and private courses to see what ideas they had and also shared what we are trying to implement." 

Heritage Park Golf Course is located at 16447 Constance, Olathe, while Tomahawk Hills Golf Course is located at 17501 Midland Drive, Shawnee.