By Brian Thomas –
Among the last cities in Orange County to reopen its golf courses, Irvine is slated to allow golfers back on courses beginning May 1. According to a city document on the reopening, city leaders felt that the four courses located in Irvine were being put at a disadvantage by remaining closed when so many others were opening.
The county, on April 21, released Orange County Golf Course Guidance, a list of recommendations for a safe reopening for courses and as a result, many outside of the city of Irvine have reopened.
Irvine’s city manager and director of emergency services, John Russo, has added to the county recommendations as he issued his own set of guidelines. They include 16 rules for golf course operations, for behavior of golfers and for food and beverage directives.
Aside from social distancing and disinfecting procedures, there are some rules specific to the game itself. Rule No. 14, for example, reads: “Flag sticks are permitted but may not be touched. All holes must have elevated cups in order to permit golf balls to be removed from the “hole/cup” using a golf club and without touching the “hole/cup” or the flag stick.”
The order states: “These rules are not mere suggestions. Courses will be subject to unannounced inspection of their practices and any material deviation from the requirements set forth in this Order may result in the closure of the non-compliant facility.”
To read the city’s order on golf course guidelines, click here.
May 6, 2020 Update: When we visited Strawberry Farms to check things out, we parked in front of the big red barn and walked to the clubhouse outdoor porch that overlooks the driving range. As soon as we stepped onto the porch, a restaurant worker came outside to politely remind us that wearing a mask was a requirement for all guests. We quickly returned to our car where we gathered the masks we had forgotten to wear. Kudos to Strawberry Farms for adhering to the new guidelines.