VGC Newsletter – 25 April 2020
This newsletter is accurate as of 25 April 2020 but could change quickly following government announcements.
We hope all our members are keeping safe at this time. The following newsletter lets you know our current thinking. The primary aim is to develop systems and procedures that allow a safe return to the golf course when that time comes.
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 guest.
- 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.
- 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.