Golfers returning to area courses

A golfer hits his approach shot on the first hole at Old Fort Golf Course. MONTE HALE JR.

Old Fort Golf Course isn't exactly back to business as usual, but the city-owned course has reopened to the public.

"Everyone needs a tee time right now and you can book up to five days in advance," said Trey Adams, Old Fort director of golf. "The main thing (golfers) need to know is that the clubhouse is closed to the public.

"You can call the clubhouse to make a tee time or you can book it online and it will ask for your credit card information. When you get to the course, you can call and tell us how many players you have and if you're walking or riding or playing 9 or 18, and they will charge the card at that time."

Old Fort shut down for a period of nine days and reopened, but it was for walkers only.

"We shut down on March 17 and reopened March 26," Adams said. "People were still playing, but we had very minimal staffing and didn't have the range open. The range is open now and we are doing take-out food and beverages and running a beverage cart on the course on the weekends."

Adams said the hours Old Fort is open currently have been shortened.

"Our hours are not as long," he said. "The first tee time is at 8 a.m. and the last is at 3 p.m. We close at 5 p.m. Any tee times after 1 p.m. are for nine holes only. We also encourage only 1 rider per cart.

"We spaced out our tee times a little further. We can handle about 120 in a day. Right now we've been running all of our leagues, but the clinics are on hold until we get to the next phase."

Smyrna Municipal Golf Course closed on March 16 and didn't reopen until May 1.

"We've kind of been mirroring what the governor is doing with the state parks," said Smyrna National pro Hal Loflin. "We opened (May 1), and we're doing every other tee time. We're open Wednesday through Sunday and closed Monday and Tuesday.

"Our tee times are 8 a.m.-1 p.m. and we spend the last two hours of the day disinfecting the club house and carts. We're letting no more than 10 at a time in the clubhouse, and one rider to a cart is mandatory. We're still being cautious and taking it two-week increments at a time. It's been working great, though. We were covered up Friday and Saturday.

"The range is not open. We'll probably do that the next week or so. We wanted to make sure we can keep the baskets and balls sanitized. We're not serving food, just snacks and drinks. We've also got protective shields in front of our workers to protect their safety. We're only doing debit or credit cards. We aren't doing any cash transactions right now."

At Champions Run, it has been business as usual for the most part.

"We've limited the amount of people that can come inside," Champions Run pro Ray Pearce said. "We sanitize all the counters, tables and carts. We went to one golfer per cart. Everybody is thrilled that we're open because they've had nothing to do.

"We're not doing the senior league. We're having them to get their own tee times, so we can control how many people come inside. What's helped us is the state parks and some other courses closing down. That's brought a lot of people to us that we would have never seen."

Pearce said private lessons have gone down and all recent scheduled scramble charity tournaments have been postponed.

"Our lessons have been down, but one Friday we had to shut the phones down because there were so many people trying to get a tee time," he said. "We probably had our best April ever."

Cedar Crest in Walter Hill also has been wide open. Initially, only rider per cart was allowed but two people are allowed now. The first tee time each day is at 5:30 a.m. and the last is at 6 p.m.

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