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Fore! Golf courses allowed to open


April 24, 2020

Pine Knot News file photo

Cloquet golfer Kaylee Anderson made an approach shot on the 16th fairway during a varsity meet last spring at the Cloquet Country Club. Despite continued social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the course is opening under modified playing rules.

Golf courses across the state got some good news last week when Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz decided to allow courses to open, albeit with some restrictions. The Friday announcement was perfect timing for the Cloquet Country Club, which will open pretty much on schedule as with past seasons.

"We may look at the driving range opening this coming weekend depending on the weather," said Cloquet Country Club general manager and golf pro Bill Manahan. "The golf course itself [will open] most likely next week sometime."

According to Manahan, the course looks good. "The golf course wintered really well," he said. "We pulled the last cover from the greens on Monday and they look great."

While golfers embraced the news, there will be some pretty significant changes while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to persist.

"The players will be asked to call ahead for tee times and players names for booking," Manahan said. "It will be members-only initially until some restrictions are lifted. The biggest thing we are stressing is planning ahead so we can accommodate cart usage."

Under the terms of the governor's order, golfers must pay fees online or by phone and follow social distancing guidelines. They are advised to handle their own bags and equipment.

"We will be operating differently but want to keep everyone safe," Manahan said. "We would have been looking at our opening date being next week even without COVID."

Some of the basic changes that will occur until further notice at the club are:

• Carts are available but limited to single use or household shared.

• CCC will try to keep play to foursomes with larger groups approved on a case-by-case basis.

Google Earth

The Cloquet course as seen from this Google Earth image.

• Flags will be placed but golfers should not touch them, even when putting. They will be using a lift system for your putter to lift the ball out of a hole.

• Initially, the course is open only for member play with guest play being planned. Members will have to plan ahead and be more structured. Players must call ahead to the golf shop at 218-879-7997.

Despite the changes, the staff and Manahan are ready to kick off another fun season at the club in Cloquet.

"There will be some adjustments being made and staff will have to adjust to those changes, but we all are just excited to have an opportunity to golf no matter what the guidelines are and be allowed to get people out to enjoy the spring and summer," Manahan said. "We think we can make it safe for those playing and offer an activity that can be enjoyed."


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