TULALIP, Wash. — As phase one starts in Governor Jay Inslee’s plan to reopen the state, there’s already been some confusion over something as simple as golf.
The owner of a Snohomish County golf course said they weren’t quite ready for the number of people eager to hit the green as soon as the announcement was made.
“It’s been difficult. We don’t have any income, but we still have to maintain the golf course because we can’t let it go,” said Fred Jacobson, owner of Battle Creek Golf Course in Tulalip.
Golf courses are on the governor’s list of businesses allowed to open again on Tuesday.
This came as a surprise for Jacobson.
“We weren’t prepared for it because we weren’t prepared for the twosomes restriction. So, bang, people are booking foursomes, and our tee sheet wasn’t set up for it,” he said.
Under the order, courses must abide by a long list of new rules to help with social distancing.
On that list, groups of four can golf together if they’re from the same household, something Jacobson finds hard to enforce so he isn’t allowing.
“They can only book a twosome in a slot. And each slot is a tee time and we’re letting them know, and if they do happen to bring out four then we’re letting them know that they have to go in two consecutive tee times, and there are several groups like that, and we’re just going to tell them ‘you can’t join up,’” Jacobson explained.
Like many businesses forced to close, Battle Creek Golf Course felt the burden of not receiving income during the pandemic.
But according to Jacobson, they just qualified for a Paycheck Protection Plan Loan under the CARES Act.
“It certainly helps out in that during the time we’ve been shut down, we still had to payout payroll from all of our maintenance staff and our skeleton crew in the pro shop,” he said.
With the excitement to be back on the green, Jacobson hopes customers understand and respect the new way of doing things.
“They’re coming out to the golf course, ‘Oh we’re here, you know, everything is the same again.’ No, it’s not. It’s not the same. We need to do things a little different for a while until the numbers get a little more under control and then we can venture back to what they say is the ‘new normal,’” he said.