It's vital to clean surfaces you touch every day amid the coronavirus outbreak. Here are mistakes to avoid. USA TODAY
Southwest Florida golf courses are mainly open and taking necessary precautions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A few have closed, others are canceling their member tournaments and social events, and many are limiting access to or closing their restaurants.
Of course, all of that could change at any moment as the fluidity of dealing with the pandemic continues to change, and more regulations and restrictions are announced.
On Tuesday evening, the United States Golf Association announced the U.S. Women's Four-Ball Championship that was scheduled to start April 25 at Quail Creek Country Club in Naples was canceled.
So far, Lexington and Renaissance in Fort Myers, and Cypress Woods, Hideout and TwinEagles in Naples have been confirmed closed.
“There’s no question there are going to be challenges in revenues and it’s going to affect the bottom line of all golf facilities,” said Geoff Lofstead, executive director of the South Florida PGA Section. “Fortunately, we have gotten through a significant part of the season. Many clubs were having record seasons until this hit.”
That seems to be the case as far as many courses doing well up to the outbreak.
"As I think like mostly clubs (are) trying keep the course open to provide a release for golfers," Stoneybrook's Jeff Nixon wrote in a text. "It’s an extremely trying time balancing financial versus social responsibility. We have seen a small fall-off but for the most part people want to get out of their house and enjoy some non-cornavirus time."
Other attractions that bring tourists or even some seasonal residents to Southwest Florida, or the state in general, have been removed with spring training being canceled and theme parks closing.
"I think in the last seven days including today, things are changing, there's no question," said Rich Lamb, director of golf for the City of Fort Myers that includes Fort Myers Country Club and Eastwood Golf Course, on Monday. "More people saying they're heading home sooner. The people that were here to see the Twins and the Red Sox and the Rays — if you were really here to see ballgames for the most part. ... you're going to take off."
Lamb said for the most part, from Oct. 1, when the club's fiscal year begins, until April 1, generally 70 percent of the two clubs' annual revenue comes in.
"Both courses have had just a wonderful, almost six months," Lamb said. "It could have an impact upon on what the end of March is going to show, whether it was going to be a great, great month, or an average month."
Wednesday's announcement that nonessential travel was being closed to and from Canada — where a lot of seasonal residents and tourists come to Southwest Florida from — also will have its effects.
"I think it'll decline a little bit more due to our Canadian members," Spring Run's Jeff Carter said. "They're being asked to go back to Canada due to their health insurance. A lot of Canadian membership is going to go back, as well as a lot of Michiganders. All the grandparents are going to watch their grandkids because school is going to be out for so long."
"For us, we're still pretty busy outside," Gabe Dixon of Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers said. "Currently, our pro shop has been closed. It's still busy. There's a lot of people playing outside."
Heritage Palm's Bob Kelly said in an email Tuesday that the course still has been topping 500 rounds daily, but some members are leaving.
Some places are eliminating shotgun starts to reduce the number of people gathering in one place, and are going to straight tee times.
Sanitizing golf carts is now the norm, and some are allowing one person per cart if that can be accommodated.
Bentley Village, the executive golf course in Bonita Springs, is open but has closed its golf simulators.
Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort is in a bit of a different situation since it has both members and resort guests for its two golf courses.
"We've got some pretty good activity from our membership," Tiburón general manager Kevin DeDonato said. "It's really important that we're creating a healthy and safe space.
"Golf is a nice activity to do that you're outdoors and there's not a lot of interaction with larger groups of people. We've certainly made adjustments."
Tiburón, which hosts both the LPGA's CME Group Tour Championship in November and PGA Tour's QBE Shootout in December, has closed its restaurant and is offering takeout, which many restaurants in non-golf course communities also are doing.
"With the health and well-being of our membership and club staff being our highest priority, the club has significantly modified its daily operating procedures," said Bob Radunz, general manager of The Quarry in Naples in a text. "That said, golf activity remains relatively high as our members are taking advantage of the opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the beautiful Southwest Florida weather we have been experiencing."
Naples National Golf Club has limited its golf to tee times only and will be closing its locker room on Friday. No guest play is allowed except for immediate member family members. On Tuesday, the club canceled the Terra Cotta Invitational, its prestigious men's amateur tournament played in April. That tournament is for top amateurs, not club members.
Like everybody and everything else, no one knows how the coronavirus is going to continue to be at a pandemic level or grow, so planning is difficult.
"I'm not sure when the next tournament is," Fiddlesticks' Dixon said. "I don't know if anyone does."
"Golf as usual," The Club Pelican Bay's Gene Fieger said late Wednesday morning. "Now that could change at 1 o'clock."
"Anybody that tells you they know what's going to happen in the next two weeks, I'd like hang around if they know that much," Lamb said.
— Staff writer Alexander Martin contributed to this article.
Greg Hardwig is a sports reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @NDN_Ghardwig, email him at email@example.com. Support local journalism with this special subscription offer at https://cm.naplesnews.com/specialoffer/