Some golf courses doing brisk business in Denver metro area

Links stay busy as facilities open to public follow stay-at-home protocol


Golfers have flocked to courses that are open during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many links remain closed.

South Suburban Parks and Recreation, due to Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order, has closed all playgrounds, golf courses, driving ranges and related golf facilities, tennis/pickleball courts, basketball courts and picnic areas.

That means there has been no activity at South Suburban Golf Course, Family Sports Golf Course, Lone Tree Golf Club & Hotel, and Littleton Golf and Tennis Club.

“We’re just keeping our golf courses closed for the safety of our community,” said Bill Ramsey who is the manager of golf and head golf professional at the Lone Tree course. “We’re really looking at the community. The safety of the community is our number one priority and that’s why we are closed.

“I think all that are closed are municipal and special district golf courses, and the ones that are privately owned and open to the public are the ones that are open right now.”

According to the Colorado Golf Association, among the Denver-area courses that have announced on their websites that they are open to the public after shutting down briefly are Riverdale in Brighton, Green Valley Ranch in Denver, CommonGround in Aurora, The Links Golf Course in Highlands Ranch, Todd Creek in Thornton, The Broadlands in Broomfield, Arrowhead in the Roxborough area, Colorado National in Erie, Raccoon Creek just west of Littleton, University of Denver Golf Club in Highlands Ranch and Plum Creek in Castle Rock.

The CGA reported on its website that late last month about 70 golf courses in Colorado were closed for coronavirus-related reasons. A majority of the public courses that remain closed are municipal or district courses. Both Topgolf locations in Centennial and Thornton are closed.

“Some courses are open and some are not,” said CGA Executive Director Ed Mate. “The way the policies are written by the regulation agencies has caused the inconsistency.”

He said golfers who are still going to courses are “breaking the containment in a safe way.”

Courses that are open must follow guidelines set by local, district or state health agencies.

Guidelines differ from course to course but most include walking only for a round with no golf carts, removal of flag sticks and bunker rakes, encouraging proper social distancing, payment for golf rounds online in advance, no water jugs on the course, no in-restaurant dining, promoting hand washing and use of hand sanitizer, and no lingering in the clubhouse.

Those courses that are open have been busy.

“We’re booked solid and we have been,” said Kurt Huhn, of Raccoon Creek. “We got our guidelines from the Jefferson County Health people and we’re following the written guidelines, and the golfers are complying pretty much. Once in a while they bunch up a little and the marshal jumps on them.

“Most of the time in golf you are 6 feet away from anybody anyway. Playing golf these days is safer than going to the grocery store.”

Matt Goudy, of Plum Creek, has never seen anything like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve been working here for 10 years and it’s pretty unique,” said Goudy. “Golfers understand the social distancing, some follow the governor’s recommendation to wear masks and some don’t, but they are not high-fiving, hugging or touching.

“I would say it is working well and the people are generally pretty happy to get outside. The pace of play is really quite remarkable. If you think about a golf cart, most golfers drive to one ball, drive to the next ball and go hunt the golf ball. When they are alone they just go to their golf ball and hit it. It is an interesting time. You see a lot of people that haven’t walked in a while and they look tired.”


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