CASPER, Wyo. — Under certain restrictions, golf courses in Casper are open. However, their rules and approaches to responding to COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic vary.
That mirrors the national picture, as Golfworld explains, where restrictions vary from state to state, from city to city and from course to course.
Like all other bars and restaurants in Wyoming, Three Crowns Golf Club, Paradise Valley Country Club, the Casper Country Club and the Casper Municipal Golf Course have closed in-club dining and bar services for members and for the public.
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Three Crowns, the PV Country Club and the Casper Country Club all have curb-side services available.
The Casper Municipal Golf Course have been allowing people to golf under certain social distancing restrictions. However, they have also said that the course may have to be shut down with people not following those rules.
“If you think we are not watching, we are,” Casper Muncipal Golf Course said on Facebook. “We are attempting to get signage out regarding 2 people per group (this includes children) and social distancing (everyone needs to be 6 feet a apart everywhere– tee boxes, greens, and fairways).”
“We get pictures, phones calls, and do have maintenance staff monitoring the course. If the rules get ignored, we will shut the whole course to play. This is up to the players. Follow the rules, please. We want to stay open for you to recreate.”
Three Crowns opened their season on April 1. The golf course is controlled by the Amoco Reuse Agreement Joint Powers Board (ARAJPB), and Three Crowns General Manager Matt Reams explained during a board meeting held remotly on Wednesday, April 8 how the start of the season has gone.
“We opened up with a pretty good plan,” Reams said. “On April 1 we opened the golf course, only to have it snow that afternoon. We opened the range about 10 days prior to the season.”
“We expect in April that we will have some tough weather days.”
With safety precautions in place, Reams says that golf can be “a safer release for people to vent with what’s going on in the world.”
“We’ve had great interaction with our guests so far,” he added.
But COVID-19 has been a disruption.
“Everything in the world is fluid,” Reams said. “Business is no different.”
Reams took over management of Three Crowns in 2018 after the ARAJPB reached a contract with Landscapes Golf Management, which is a divison of the company Landscapes Unlimited, to manage the course.
Since LU manages golf courses from around the country, Reams said those contacts were helpful in Three Crowns being able to somewhat anticipate what changes would need to be put in place when COVID-19 and related closure orders came to the area.
Those changes began to go in place in March with the safety of golf course patrons and staff the priority. Reams said the advantage of being connected with developments at other courses across the country was the ability to “capture their couple weeks experience.”
That helped the club transition to new service approaches more effectively.
“We opened up with a pretty good plan,” Reams said. “Haven’t had to make many adjustments at all. We went to curbside service middle of the month, kind of the same time everybody else did.”
The in-house bar and restaurant closures did not force Three Crowns to cut staff, but Reams said it has frozen new hiring. He added that with the opening of the season, the club would ordinarily have been hiring more staff at this time.
Staff on the restaurant and bar side who’s usual duties have been interrupted by the closure have still been getting hours on other tasks, though some people’s hours are down.
“Our core people now are getting the hours they would generally expect at this time of year,” Reams said. “We are cross utilizing people at the restaurant who want to work.”
He added that Three Crowns could potentially see “very minimal hiring as the season progresses.”
With in-dining revenue losses in mind, Reams and LU prepared an estimate that Three Crowns could see a financial shortfall of around $75,000.
“That’s just a $75,000 obstacle that we’ll work to overcome throughout the year,” Reams said, noting that the forecast may not necessarily come true. “Our goal is still our original vision.”
He added that Three Crowns has applied for a “Paycheck Protection Program” loan administered through the United State Small Business Administration.
“The PPP paperwork was completed and submitted and seems to be in good order,” Reams said.
He added that a new GPS system which links into new carts at Three Crowns and allows patrons a variety of service options and also prevent the carts from driving into restricted areas “is about 95% installed.”
“That’s actually turned out better than we thought,” Reams said, adding that the integration should be operational by next week.
ARAJPB Chairman Bob Chynoweth said he was impressed that Reams and LU had taken the initiative to approximate losses stemming from COVID-19 and were doing things to adapt.
“It is just really something to see all the things a golf course has to change and it is all happening,” Chynoweth said. “You’re just doing a fantastic job.”
Board member Doug Follick agreed.
“This [financial] forecast came to us unrequested,” he said. “It is something that LU did on it’s own initation. In my mind it is a show of we really do have a partner here.”
The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:
What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.
If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.
Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.
For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.