Marion County golf courses reopen with social distancing guidelines in place

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett allowed golf courses across Marion County to reopen this weekend after courses were ordered to close April 3 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Southern Dunes Golf Club reopened, while enforcing social distancing guidelines mandated by local and state health officials.

Southern Dunes general manager Kurt Schier said about 140 golfers signed up to play Friday.

“We normally run our tee times at ten minutes. We’ve pushed them out to fifteen apart. That way there’s ample time for people to get off the tee and that way there’s not crowding on the first tee,” Schier said.

Joey Gallardo told FOX59 he felt safe playing golf at Southern Dunes Friday.

“Everyone has got their good distance away. You’re six feet from your other guy you’re playing with, and you got the groups in front of you on the other side of the course,” Gallardo said. “Doing pretty good out here social distancing-wise.”

Southern Dunes is allowing those who live together to ride in the same cart. Otherwise, only one person per cart is permitted.

“We’re power-washing, sanitizing the keys, the steering wheels, the gear shifts, the seats and all of that before the round,” Schier said. “We are doing the exact same process after the round.”

To encourage social distancing, Southern Dunes has filled the hole on every green. Now, players finish each hole by putting their balls to elevated bases surrounding flag sticks.

“We’ve got the cups raised above green level. There’s no rakes in the bunkers. There’s no ball washers,” Schier said. “Anything you can touch has been taken away.”

Schier estimates social distancing at Southern Dunes will be enforced through the summer.

“Maybe, I’m being a little bit optimistic. It would be great to see something mid-July or first part of August where things can get back to some normalcy,” he said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

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