Haymaker Golf Course, Tennis Center opening this week in Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Despite widespread closures due to COVID-19, Haymaker Golf Course will be opening up just four days later than last year. The public golf course opens Thursday, May 14, and will operate under strict safety protocols. And then two days later on Saturday, May 16, the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs will open under similar restrictions.
“We’re excited, and we feel good about the plan we have in place. Our strategy has been to walk before we run,” said Haymaker head professional Cody Hasten. “We’re not going to allow carts, the range and things like that initially — for the first week or two. We’re excited to get golfers out on the course and playing the course. We’ll slowly introduce the rest of the amenities.”
The 18-hole course, located east of town on U.S. Highway 40, will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. but only to residents of Moffat and Routt counties, since the county’s lodging ban is still in effect through May 31. Tee times have to be booked in advance either online or by calling 970-870-1846. The facility is also asking people to arrive no more than 10 minutes before tee time and to leave the course after finishing.
A full list of requirements and expectations are listed on the Haymaker website at haymakergolf.com.
To prevent people from gathering, the practice facility, driving range and putting greens will stay closed until May 21. There also are no available rental carts or clubs. and the course must be walked, so Hasten suggests golfers bring their own push cart if they have one.
Restrooms on course and in the clubhouse will be open and sanitized frequently. Haymaker Patio Grill will be serving beverages and grab-and-go food for pick up, but on-course water stations will not be functioning, so golfers should come prepared.
Hasten doesn’t expect any of the protocols to challenge golfers or staff, since similar measures are in effect everywhere.
“I think at this point, people are used to what’s going on,” he said. “We’re really fortunate that we’ve had basically two months for people to acclimate to the new world, so the learning curve will be a lot shallower than some of the courses on the Front Range that were just rolling with the punches.”
Saturday will be the first day the Tennis Center has opened its doors since closing March 17 due to COVID-19. On April 8, the city took over the facility in case it was needed as an emergency center through the pandemic. That agreement concludes Friday, so phones at the center will not be answered until opening day on Saturday.
Indoor and outdoor courts will be available, but in the case of pickleball courts, which are closer together, only every other court will be in use.
Conway and her staff have created a “play safe” plan poster that highlights 10 major rules that all visitors of the center must follow, including maintaining a 6-foot distancing, using hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. A mask isn’t required while playing but needs to worn to and from the courts.
- Stay home if you are sick
- Wear a face mask to and from courts
- Wash hands before and after play
- Use hand sanitizer
- Use disinfectant wipes where you touch
- Only touch your marked tennis balls
- Maintain 6-foot distancing
- Put card or cash on your account
- You will be asked to leave if not abiding by the plan
- Must have signed waiver on account
The safety protocols at the Tennis Center will require a lot of effort on behalf of the guests and staff. There will be additional staff and volunteers taking on roles of court monitors to ensure that guests are following the rules.
“It’s a lot more work for us, but we are very serious about following these rules so hopefully we can stay open and keep people from getting sick,” Conway said.
Conway suspects the most difficult part of the whole thing will be keeping track of one’s own tennis balls. Each individual can only touch their own tennis balls, which will be marked in some fashion. Other players can kick, hit or bonk the tennis balls to their opponent in any way that doesn’t require them to touch it.
“We’re going to make it fun,” Conway said. “We’re going to put some videos up about how you can take the ball on your foot and lift it and hit it to somebody.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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