Golf is a game of rules, and there are more rules than ever. But, with those rules in place to protect people from the contagious coronavirus and to allow courses to reopen, golfers are more than willing to comply.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity provided its rules to courses statewide under the Illinois governor's renewed coronavirus-prevention orders in effect throughout May.
Course owners, who could open on Friday, May 1, had lot of steps to follow.
To prevent the spread of contagious disease, the state does not want anyone to touch the pins. No rakes will be left out for use for smoothing the sand traps. No gatherings are allowed. Don't expect to find a ball washer, either, so bring a damp towel. Bars and clubhouses are to be closed, and all tee times and payments are to be taken over the phone. Pull carts will not be rented out, though golfers can bring their own.
The state does not want golfers to reach into the hole to retrieve a ball, so many courses will leave the cups elevated to prevent that.
Courses are supposed to post signs about what players should do.
The state will not allow golfing in groups of more than two people, and tee times must be at least 15 minutes apart.
Riding carts, the state says, should only be rented to people with a disability or a physical limitation that prevents them from finishing a round without a cart.
At Spring Creek, co-owner Jack Potthoff said the course, which traditionally has taken cash or check and avoided credit fees, will be taking tee times and payments over the phone.
When the course was allowed to open for one day in March, he removed the pins and had the cups protruding out of the ground, allowed only one player per cart and sanitized carts after each use.
This time, trimmed-down foam pool noodles will be fitted into the cup at Spring Creek to allow a putting target without requiring the golfer to put his or her hands into the cups.
State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) said the state shut down all Illinois courses after allowing a brief reopening in March after the governor's office learned about a Chicago North Shore club having a gathering of about 300 people during stay-at-home orders.