Jeff Papilion returns to the Birchbank Golf Course as the Director of Golf and head professional and welcomes all members back for another season. The course opens on Friday with the first tee off at 8:30 a.m. (weather permitting). Jim Bailey photo.

Birchbank, Redstone, and Champion Lakes golf courses to open Friday

After delays due to COVID-19, Greater Trail golfers are set to tee off

Trail golfers are happy to hear that the Birchbank Golf Course will open on Friday.

And that may be an understatement.

“The phone is going crazy,” said Birchbank’s Director of Golf and Club Pro, Jeff Papilion, who found out Monday night that the course would be open for play. “Our (online booking) portal opened Wednesday at 8 a.m., first time for tee off is 8:30 for now.”

Following the strict protocols set out by the provincial health officer (PHO), the course will be open to Rossland-Trail Country Club members and their guests only to start the season, with stringent restrictions in effect.

Members will also see most of last year’s staff back for another season, and it will be business as usual for these unusual times.

Rossland’s Redstone Golf Resort and Champion Lakes Golf Course in Fruitvale are also opening on Friday. The Castlegar Golf Course opened for members-only last week, Balfour Golf Course tees off Friday, and Nelson’s Granite Point on May 4.

Redstone general manager Jeff Bruce said he’s implemented safety measures, and will also open for members only.

“Once we open, there will be only one entrance as you walk into the shop,” said Bruce. “We also won’t be allowing golf carts on the course to start the season.”

“Players will also notice no-touch flagsticks, no rakes in the bunkers and no benches or garbage cans on the course. We also won’t have any food and beverage services to start.”

Redstone inserted pool noodles in all the holes to prevent a ball from falling into the cup, hence the name no-touch flagstick.

As reported in the Times last Thursday, Champion Lakes is also poised for play.

“It’s exciting,” said Champion Lakes Golf Pro and Manager, Kevin Nesbitt. “But it’s going to be interesting as well. I never in my life expected to run these types of protocols for a golf game, but the times have changed it.”

Champion Lakes is also taking necessary precautions outlined by the PHO, and is giving members first chance to book tee times before noon, after which the public is welcome to book online or by calling the golf course.

Related read: Champion Lakes Golf Course announces opening

Birchbank’s coronavirus precautions include:

No walk-ups or drop-ins allowed, all tee times must be booked online or over the phone.

Members are asked to pay with a credit card when booking a tee time, or debit at pro shop; cash will not be accepted.

Groups teeing off will be separated by 14-minute tee times.

The Clubhouse restaurant will remain closed but some items are available for takeout; golfers must call in order, and pick up from outside deck.

Only two people are allowed in the pro shop at one time. Golfers who have booked and paid do not need to go into the shop but can check in from outside.

There will be no flag sticks, but raised cups on all 18 holes. Golfers will be given a pin-sheet that shows where the hole is placed in one of five areas of the green.

Golfers must respect the six-foot distancing, with no handshaking, high fives etc.

Golf carts are available for rent but to single riders only, unless you share same household.

Golfers are asked to show up no earlier than 20 minutes prior to tee off, and leave the course promptly after round.

The practice putting green will only be open to the group on deck.

Ball washers and rakes have been removed so golfers are asked to bring a damp towel, and foot rake the sand traps when necessary.

The washroom/dressing room doors will be open with touch-points sanitized regularly.

The Birchbank driving range will remain closed for now.

With files from Connor Trembley.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Rosslanders celebrate Canada Day in style

Locals organized a museum scavenger hunt, a Mt. Roberts flag-raising ceremony and evening fireworks

Hwy 1 flooding causes massive delays on certain Arrow Lakes ferry routes

Motorists have been waiting around three hours to get on ferries

Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre expands operations online

The facility also opened back up to the public earlier in June

Rossland’s Sourdough Alley a ‘muddy collection of shacks’

Rossland’s earliest thoroughfare was once derided as a ‘muddy collection of shacks’

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Most Read