Golfers can keep hitting links in Florida with some adjustments

Golfers can keep hitting links in Florida with some adjustments

Normally one of the busiest intersections in downtown Orlando, Orange Ave., looking north from South St., is all but deserted Thursday, March 26, 2020, on the eve of a shelter-in place ordinance that has been issued for all Orange County residents. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel) (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel) Golf courses already were staggering in the Orlando area, but on Wednesday at Highlands Reserve general manager Donnie Shallow braced for the knockout punch. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order mandating Floridians stay at home appeared to bring an end to business until the end of April in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus. Exemptions for outdoor recreational activities included boating, cycling, fishing and walking, but no golf. But the North Florida PGA Section quickly reached out to the governor’s office and confirmed the sport also would qualify as long as social distancing guidelines were followed. “We were pretty much as of yesterday getting ready to do shutdown mode, then got a reprieve last night,” Shallow said Thursday afternoon. “Right now, we’re status quo, operations normal.” For weeks, golf courses have updated protocols to keep the sport as safe as possible for customers — no driving range, no rakes in the bunker, no ball washers and no touching the flag sticks. To ensure people maintain six feet of distance from each other, the list of no-no’s now includes one person per golf cart. Even people who arrive in the same car must ride alone on the course. Steve Singh, general manager and owner at Winter Pines, said Thursday he planned to rent 20 carts this month at $90 apiece, giving his course 84 total carts. The Winter Park-based municipal course has remained busy amid the concern and uncertainty created by an insidious, easily transmissible virus. Singh said he sold 218 rounds […]

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