Some golf courses are open; carts limited or banned

File PhotoLockport Town & Country Club golf pro Terry Stiltner is pictured last July overlooking the club's historic 18-hole course. 

If you'd walk a mile just to go golfing, you may be hoofing it a lot further this summer.

The good news for avid local golfers — like you— is that at least some local courses are either already open or are about to for the 江西11选五 season, despite restrictions around the globe as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bad news, especially for those older linksters and others with disabilities who rely on the comfort of a small vehicle to get them through a round, is that most courses that have opened are banning or putting huge restrictions on the use of golf carts, temporarily.

At courses like the Lockport Town & Country Club, which is now open to members, all rounds must be played on foot until further notice. At other courses, including the Niagara County Golf Course in Lockport, carts aren't being used, but discussions are underway to determine if it might be possible to use them in the near future, albeit by one individual at a time.

NCGC veteran golf pro Thomas Yaeger said restrictions on carts could significantly impact summer golf leagues, many of which are heavy in senior and retired membership.

“We've discussed the possibility of having carts on the front nine, with one person per cart, but that's gonna be the issue with the bigger participation leagues, because you won't be able to ride two in a cart. Right now, we have too many people and we don't have that many carts to go around,” Yaeger said.

“There's the possibility that in some leagues, some of the players could ride and some could walk, but we're still trying to figure that all out. One of the things we're trying to see right now is if two golf bags could still be allowed on the back of one cart at a time, even though only one person would be allowed to ride in the cart at a time. We'll know more in the coming weeks after talking to the county.”

The person with the lowest round in NCGC history, J.J. Napoli, an employee at the Lockport Town & Country Club and a highly-touted, recently-graduated Division I golfer at Niagara University, said it's OK to get out and golf, if you take the proper precautions.

“It won't really change that much,” said Napoli, who carded a 63 at the NCGC two summers ago, breaking Dan Graney's 54-year-old all-time course record by two strokes.

“When you're out on the course, you're not in a crowd. You're just going to have to take extra precautionary measures, like not shaking hands and maintaining a certain amount of distance apart at all times,” Napoli said.

The LT&CC has made other precautionary changes to its rolling, 18-hole course that are in effect for the time being as a direct result of the pandemic. Cups on the greens are raised or moved so that golfers aren't all reaching into the same container for their balls throughout any given day, plus all pins at the LT&CC are currently at the “front” of the greens closest to the fairway, he said.

“The USGA came out with kind a set of guidelines in the last couple of days which included some precautionary measures we should take and we've followed them to a tee,” said Napoli, who also works as an accountant for the Benderson Development Corporation.

“For members, the country江西11选5 club open, but just for walking. I'm actually getting out today (Monday) to hit a few balls with a few friends,” Napoli said. “I'm done with Division I golf, but I'm going to continue playing competitively and do what I can to keep the game alive.”

While half of their course is open, the NCGC driving range and pro shop will remain closed for the time being, Yaeger said.

“Right now, we're working out of the old ticket booth that everyone's familiar with,” Yaeger said. Current Niagara County Golf Course hours (front nine only) are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with no carts allowed.

Closer to Niagara Falls, Niagara Frontier Golf Club membership director Jake Tyno reported that the NFGC is also open, with use of carts permitted by one person at a time only.

“The clubhouse and locker rooms are closed, but we are open for golf and we're also in the process of signing up new members,” Tyno said.

“Our head professional, Dan Antonucci, is in constant contact with the USGA and we are also following all precautionary guidelines to a tee. We are presently allowing carts, one person per cart. Every time a cart comes in, we disinfect them thoroughly. Same thing with the cart keys that are turned in.”

Anyone interested in more NFGC membership information can contact Tyno at 425-6685.

The Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston is open but limited, much like the above courses. Members are allowed to golf, though the restaurant and clubhouse are closed. No guests are allowed to use the facilities, and the club is following strict social distancing and safe golf guidelines from the CDC and USGA, per spokesman Marty Shimmel.

The Hyde Park Golf Course on Porter Road remains closed until further notice.

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