Dedicated flagstick attendants and curtailed warmup time are only some of the precautions and new rules being put in place for one of the state’s first major competitions.
Kevin Laura admits that the 2020 CoBank Colorado Women’s Open will be a “different” kind of championship, but in his mind, different is infinitely better than none at all.
“Our mission is to run three championships,” says the Colorado Open Foundation’s chief executive officer. “And it’s my mission to give the pros playing in them the ability to make a living.”
Taking place June 3-5 at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club, the Women’s Open is one of the first tournaments in Colorado since the novel coronavirus pandemic struck. That’s led to a number of precautions and rules being established in the interest of safety.
One of the biggest is that spectators will not be allowed to attend the tournament; even the number of people following the players will be limited: Going off in threesomes, each participant will be allowed two “guests,” one of whom can be a caddie. Before their rounds, the players can’t arrive at the course more than 30 minutes before their tee time, to insure that they’re spaced out under social distancing guidelines on the driving range and the facility. At the conclusion of their rounds, when their scores are official, players have to leave the premises.
Unlike the way most golf is being played these days, with raised cups or sponges in holes to make sure people aren’t touching flagsticks, the Women’s Open will feature traditional holes–the difference is each one will be manned by a dedicated attendant, who will be responsible tending the flagstick as well as sanitizing it after each group plays through. While each player will also carry their own rake, the attendants will also be responsible for raking the green side bunkers.
Another major change in rules is that each played will go out in carts, which can be shared with the caddie if the two are sheltering in the same place. The biggest reason for that is in the event of a weather delay; should that happen, instead of massing together in a shuttle van to return to the clubhouse, each player will drive themselves in. Once they arrive, they’ll have to wait in their cars instead of the clubhouse.
And when the delay ends, the players will have to immediately return to the course and resume play without a warmup.
“It’s all going to be very well policed,” Laura says. “I hate to use that word, but that’s pretty much how golf is being run now anyway.”
Players and their guests will not receive temperature checks at the event; as is the case at most courses these days, anyone with a fever or is feeling sick, is being asked to stay away until healthy.
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