Since announcing the closure of its six golf courses on March 23, BREC staff has implemented additional operational safety measures and created a three-phase plan to safely reopen the courses while complying with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards most recent Stay at Home Order and other federal, state, and local guidelines. Each phase and the associated safety measures were determined by recommendations made from health and government authorities on social movement and interaction.
Phase one will begin Thursday, April 30 when three of BREC’s six golf courses will reopen for play. The golf courses to reopen first are: Santa Maria, Beaver Creek and Webb Memorial golf courses. Woody Dumas, J.S. Clark and Historic City Park golf courses will reopen on Friday, May 1 allowing staff to make any necessary adjustments to the plan after observing Thursday’s operations.
Additional safety measures put in place to further protect the public and BREC staff include the following:
- No cash transactions will be accepted, credit cards or gift cards only accepted.
- A discounted rate will be provided to customers who pre-pay their green fees online for less interaction with staff at the golf courses using this link: http://golf.brec.org/prepay/.
- Limited or no access to the clubhouse – Sales transactions will occur at a door or window.
- Limited access to clubhouse bathrooms, where access is available through a separate entrance.
- Tee times will be extended to every 12-minutes in order to keep safe distances between groups.
- “Walk-on” (non-tee time) play may be unavailable or very limited at busier facilities.
- Cart rentals are for single riders only and carts will be sanitized after each use.
- Cart rentals will be limited, as some course may be ‘walking only’ for some portion of the day.
- Multiple signs will be displayed on courses to remind golfers to maintain safe distances.
- No outing groups, tournaments or organized play of more than 10 people will be allowed.
- Employees will complete a daily health screening questionnaire.
- Masks and gloves will be provided to staff and frequent disinfecting schedules will be mandated.
Before BREC closed golf courses, the following safety measures had been put in place and will continue for the foreseeable future:
- Golfers who feel sick are asked to remain at home.
- Golfers are not allowed to touch the flagstick.
- Hole liners are upside down so the ball can’t fully fall into the hole.
- No bunker rakes on the course, golfers are asked to do their best to smooth the sand.
- Water coolers are removed from the course.
- Ball-washers are removed or covered.
“In accordance with the Governor and Mayor’s order, our primary recommendation to the public remains to stay home and only go out for essential activities. However, like the CDC, we realize one of those essential activities includes getting active outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air and reaping the many positive physical and mental benefits provided by parks and golf courses with green spaces and trails for walking, jogging, biking and hiking,” said Superintendent Corey Wilson. “We know that BREC parks are part of the solution to the underlying health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity that plague our community. As such, our goal is to have the entire system reopened as soon as it is possible to do so safely,” Wilson said.
Superintendent Wilson is serving on the Governor’s Resilient Louisiana Commission, advising the state in his role on the Restaurant and Entertainment Task Force.
Additional information regarding the phased reopening of the remainder of BREC’s system including the Baton Rouge Zoo, Liberty Lagoon, summer camps, playgrounds, athletic programs and venues, and other amenities is expected soon following additional guidance from industry professionals, and state and local public health and government officials.
BREC staff will continue providing content on the virtual portal it created to give people access to the park system through videos, activity sheets and links to other partners offering virtual services to the public sheltering at home. The portal can be accessed at brec.org/refresh.