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Many golf courses back in action

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Gyms, bowling centers and movie theatres remain closed, but the topic of golf being a safer form of entertainment and exercise during the coronavirus pandemic has bounced around in recent weeks.

Last Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced many courses can reopen under strict safety restrictions. Golf was most recently shutdown April 9 under the non-essential business guideline.

The Golf Club at Middle Bay in Oceanside originally reopened April 4 following an extensive construction project, said Ronald Wright, Director of Golf for the semi-private facility. A new parking lot is nearing completion, needing a final coat of blacktop, and the breathtaking 6,800-yard course will be up and running again this Saturday, April 25.

“Our new clubhouse and catering hall construction is on hold for now, but everything else is completed or close to it,” Wright said. “We’re opening Saturday with a limited number of essential employees and a security team to monitor social distancing.”

Middle Bay is a cart-mandatory facility, but Wright said no carts will be available until further notice so only walking is permitted. Food and beverage services are also on hold. “We have a café that seats about 30 and we don’t know when we’ll be able to utilize it,” he said.

Reservations for tee times along with payment are only being accepted through its website: www.thegolfclubatmiddlebay.com. Although no formal guidelines apply to spacing out tee times, Wright said the course is likely to use 12-minute intervals. “We’re abiding by all safety recommendations and then some,” Wright said.

At the Lawrence Yacht and Country Club, the driving range, clubhouse and other amenities are closed until further notice but the golf course is open every day at 8 a.m., except for Mondays which is a noontime start.

Carts and guests are unavailable until at least May 15, said Peter Procops, the head golf professional at the club. “People want to get out and get fresh air and enjoy themselves,” Procops said. “We’ve had a fair amount of traffic. We have security staff present to make sure everyone is following distancing guidelines.”

Nearby at The Seawane Club in Hewlett Harbor, owner Alex Smith said the course is open for members to walk or use pull carts, but all other operations remain temporarily suspended.

A voice recording at Inwood Country Club on April 21 stated the course is open for use and provided playing conditions for the day.

At the Rockville Links Club, general manager Brad Matthees couldn’t comment about anything other than the course is open and operating under Gov. Cuomo’s new guidelines.

Depending on the course, golfers may find signs instructing them not to touch flagsticks, bunker rakes and ball washers. At some public courses, cups are being packed with material so the ball doesn’t go to the bottom and can be retrieved with a club.