CURRENT COURSE STATUS
AVGC Newsletter – 25 April 2020
Members playing golf at AVGC 13 May 20 to 19 May 20.
The club will open for play on Wednesday 13th May 2020.
The government have issued the following guidelines:
Individuals can play golf on their own
Two-balls are allowed comprising individuals from different households
At the discretion of the golf club, members of the same household may play in two, three or fourballs.
Much is being left up to the discretion of individual clubs. We have the primary responsibility to enable you all to play golf safely ay Aylesbury Vale and this will explain many of the decisions and procedures that we have put in place. We believe there could be an explosion of interest in golf when it re-opens, as was the experience in other countries that have already opened. Hence we are going to introduce some new procedures for the first week (Wednesday 13th May until Tuesday 19th May inclusive) that will ensure that we maintain control and keep everyone safe. We will review the procedures on Monday 18th May and announce any Amendments to be made from Wednesday 20th May once we see how it goes.
Procedures for 13th – 19th May.
- We are only going to allow one and two balls to book.
- Tees will be booked at 10 minute intervals. (We used to book every 8 minutes).
- We are only going to allow 9 holes to be played in any one day. Both the front nine and back
nine will be bookable.
- For the first week bookings may only be made by members, or by one member bringing one
- Groups of non members and societies will not be able to book.
- Bookings must have Christian names and surnames online or the booking will be deleted.
- No shows will be unable to book for a further week.
- There are no competitions and no roll ups.
- All tee times must now be booked, even before 8.45 a.m. at weekends.
- Tee times may be booked from 5 a.m. and the shop will be open and staffed at that time. 5
a.m. to 7 a.m. is ‘greenkeeper time’ so if the green you approach is being watered or cut you
will have to give yourself 2 putts and move onto the next tee.
- Any tee times booked three weeks ago have been removed as these were at 8 minute intervals and we are moving to 10 minute intervals. However, we will contact the few that had
booked to see if they want a new time. (members only).
- New bookings will be taken from 12 noon on Tuesday 12th May for the period 13th – 19th
May. We do have to iron out the tee interval sheet change with BRS on Tuesday morning.
Explanations: We have virtually no families of three or four members living in the same house. Hence, the very occasional three or four ball would severely put the brakes on a field of one and two balls. It therefore makes sense to start with just one and two balls. Let us assume 3 one-balls and 3 two-balls at 10 minute intervals in an hour period. That would be just 9 members playing per hour and not all members would get to play in a day that wanted to play – even with the ban on visitors. Hence we are going to limit everyone to just nine holes so that everyone gets their chance to play. Late arrivals will probably not be able to play or may have a long, boring wait in their car for the next available tee time. No shows will be a slot wasted that someone else could have used, hence the requirement for full names and the penalty for not turning up.
What is open?
The course is open. The clubhouse (except toilets and hand washing facilities) is closed. There is still no government guidance on the pro shop and driving range. We will open the shop but restrict it to just one customer at a time. We have built perspex dividers between staff and customers. We are going to keep the driving range closed initially – we fear a huge surge in interest and have no control mechanisms in place to limit numbers.
Procedures to ensure safe golf:
- Book tee times online or on the phone where possible. You cannot book beyond 19th May until 18th May so we can review the week. Be aware that the BRS booking system mentions 18 holes when you book – we will telephone them to see if this can be changed to read 9 holes,
but if not, be advised that you are only really booking for 9 holes.
- Use your toilet at home immediately before getting into your car to set off. (More of toilets later and sorry for sounding like the nanny state)!
- Only travel with someone from your own household. Do not use public transport or taxis.
- When you arrive, if you are early, stay in your car until around 12 minutes before you are due to tee off, or a little earlier if you need to talk to shop staff.
- Treat the path to the clubhouse as a one way system. Walk from your car down the path but when you return to your car walk across the grass back to the car park. Put your golf shoes on in the car park beforehand.
- Keep your distancing at all times – go for 4 meter distancing with your golfing partner, (if from a different household), then if you get lax and your guard drops you will still be outside the government target of 2 metres.
- We will only allow one person in the golf shop at a time. However, you can book your tee time in advance on the computer or the phone. When you arrive, if you are not comfortable entering the shop you can shout to us through the open shop door. We have an extra desk in the shop near the entrance. It is surrounded by perspex, and we will angle the screen so that you can view the tee time sheet from outside. If you do enter the shop we ask you to keep 2 metres back from the perspex areas. We would ask everyone to go cashless. You can use your white cards and pay on credit / debit card. Our member of staff will touch all buttons for you and you can pay with the contactless facility. We can break larger payments down into multiples of £45,
the new contactless limit. Again, our shop staff member will get a coffee for you and this can be paid for with a card rather than cash. The only thing you need to do is get a fresh polystyrene cup from the stack and place it under the machine. Shop staff will press the buttons
that you require.
- All the doors from outside to the hand basins will be propped open so you can wash your hands with the anti-bacterial soap and dry them with the warm air hand drier as often as you like without having to touch anything. The only thing that we ask is that you step back outside if you meet anyone in the corridor. Priority will be given to the person already in the toilets and the new person coming in is asked to be the one to go back outside and wait for the other person to exit.
Arrangements for playing golf
- Confirm with the pro shop staff your starting tee. (1st or 10th)
- You will only be allowed to play 9 holes.
- You cannot use the practice putting green if there is already someone on it. Once they move off to their tee and the putting green is empty your two ball can putt.
- The putting green cannot be used for practice unless you are about to play the course.
- The practice chipping green and bunker remain closed.
- The tee blocks will be wide apart. Tee off as far back as you like – anything to assist you keeping good separation distance.
- Smooth bunkers over with your feet or club. If you land in someone’s footprint roll your ball back, not nearer the hole, to raked sand, without penalty.
- Do not touch any flagsticks during your round. A ball finishing within 12 inches of the hole is a gimme. The bottom of the cups are raised so that you can easily pick up your ball without touching the cup.
- Only touch your own golf ball.
- There are no golf competitions or handicap adjustments.
- On completion of your round please make your way back to your car across the grass to avoid passing golfers arriving up the path.
The most important aspect of playing golf is maintaining that separation distance at all times, provided you are not from the same household. We will keep a buggy back as a marshal buggy and
have a number of helpful volunteers who will drive around the course just to check that the covid rules are being followed.
Again, discretion is left up to individual clubs. We are going to employ a common sense approach which is that masks are not required outside, or on the course, but are required as you enter the pro shop or the toilet / hand basin areas. Our staff will be required to wear them in the shop. We have managed to get 300 masks but never know how future supplies will go. Hence members could help us out here by making your own batch of masks and keeping them in your golf bag. Some members have suggested some material with a sheet of kitchen roll in the middle and when they get home the material goes on a hot wash whilst fresh kitchen roll is used each time. These masks are simply designed to prevent your own coughs or sneezes from projecting droplets towards others or across inside areas. They would not protect you from the virus but you could be protected by someone else mask. If you cannot provide your own mask you may have
one of ours, whilst stocks remain.
These must be booked in advance by calling 01525 240196. We must allow a full 10 minutes for our staff to clean all surfaces on the buggy with an anti-bacterial spray before they can be hired out again. Buggies are only for one person, unless both are from the same household. Season tickets were £360 last year but are now only £260 this year as we only have a reduced season left. The fee for a 9 hole buggy was £12 last year for a member but will be £10 this year.
Our hire trolleys are £4 this year, but again, we need sufficient time to clean the whole trolley before we can hire it out.
We are going to close the driving range initially. We do have some ideas for the future (no tokens, close the ball bin, baskets from shop, disinfect balls, close every other bay, white line the grass bays etc) but the range is in danger of being over-run upon re-opening at peak times. On this matter we would appreciate some government / England Golf guidelines to get this right – I would think we may need some sort of timed booking system to ensure a spread of range users. The government announcements have been very recent on golf so I would think that guidelines are not far off.
Those on direct debits, who did not opt in, will have had £0 taken on 1 May 20 and will have only 33% of their normal direct debit fee taken on 1st June 20 to make up for the period of time that the course has been closed. The normal fee will then re-start on 1st July 20. Those members who kindly opted in for a half payment on 1st May 20 will only have 33% of their normal fee to pay on 1st June 20, before reverting to normal on 1st July 20. Then they will have a 50% discount in fees on 1st April 21 along with their white card bonus of £25. Those members who kindly agreed to keep full fees going will pay the normal fees this year but will pay £nil in April 21 and only 33% of their normal fee in May 21 along with their white card bonus of £50. Those members who kindly wrote ‘ keep the fees going normally regardless’ have our grateful thanks and a £50 white card bonus in May 21.
Those members who cancelled their membership or cancelled their direct debits upon lockdown are not currently members. They are obviously welcome to re-join but must do so before being able to play the course.
As these have been economically challenging times we are keen to replace the 25 members who cancelled their membership upon lockdown. You may have friends who are not members of a club who may be looking to join a club. At present, a great many clubs are only offering tee times to members so this is a good time to recruit nomads! Please do encourage them to get in touch.
We still offer memberships for a rolling year, although new members will be required to pay for at least half of their fees up front with a maximum of half to be spread across direct debits, as a recent change to club policy. (This does not apply to existing members).
We won’t be using the SmartGolfer scheme initially. We were a little surprised when the government said you could travel as far as you want for your exercise and SmartGolfer managers were already discounting the idea of increased travel. So the scheme will probably come back quickly, but not this week.
We will deep clean every toilet cubicle each night and have a daily cleaning rota for cleans throughout the day. However, we will place bins, anti-bacterial cleaning fluid and rolls of blue paper in each cubicle. We would ask every person to spray and wipe the toilet seat, flush handle and door bolt before using the toilet, and dispose the blue roll in the waste bin provided. You should also use blue roll to handle the spray gun. Our nanny state suggestion is that everyone uses their own toilet at home before travelling to the club to minimise their use.
Please empty your lockers for the time being and change your shoes in your car. Locker rooms are not to be used for changing at present.
Changes to the course.
Due to the coronavirus we have increased the size of some approaches, re-shaped and widened some fairways, and reduced the cut height of the rough. This is to keep the flow of golfers moving more smoothly this year. We want to try and speed up play and avoid the need to search for a ball. We are treating this year as a ‘keep fit, keep well, play for fun’ year rather than setting up a tougher course for competitions. If you do need to call someone through simply keep good separation distances.
We are looking forward to Wednesday, keep safe,
On behalf of Aylesbury Vale Golf Club.