The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives significantly, and we've been fortunate to have golf in a safe setting on Seabrook Island as a great physical and emotional outlet for our members and guests. Since the beginning of the pandemic, players have been taking their own push carts or walking to maintain safe social distance while on the course. Closing the Ocean Winds course also provided us the luxury of accommodating single rider carts to meet the needs of all of our players.
When we re-open Ocean Winds on October 9th, we will no longer have enough carts on various days to satisfy everyone's desire to ride as a single because the demand for play, and access to carts, during peak times will double with both courses open. October, and November through Thanksgiving, are often the busiest times for our courses. Many of those weeks are usually much busier than our summer season, so we fully expect there will be many times where everyone cannot have access to a single rider cart. In that our fleet of 110 carts and charging stations are planned to accommodate the demands of two 18-hole courses with each cart carrying 2 players, it would take over 200 carts to accommodate single riders once both courses are open. This is not operationally possible.
We are keeping 40 carts from the existing cart fleet on a temporary basis which will provide us with 150 carts. However, even with these additional carts, at certain times of the day and certain days of the week we will still experience significant shortages if we continue to have every player in a single rider cart. Keeping additional carts above the extra 40 is simply not an option due to a lack of storage and the inability to charge those carts due to power access and power capabilities of the Island House.
Therefore, beginning with the re-opening of Ocean Winds on October 9th, we can no longer accommodate every single rider cart request on days where the demand exceeds availability. We will add a notation on the top of the online tee sheets at least 2 days prior to when these peak play days are forecasted. On these specific days it is essential that with your help we will provide multiple options and opportunities for players to social distance as required by the Town's ordinance.
In order for our members and guests to play without everyone being in a single rider cart we need your help. Please review the following walking, walking with push carts and cart options that will available beginning in early October when the demand is greater then availability. We will be:
- Asking those who can walk to please walk. In this regard, all fees for walking at any time will be waived. This will include fees for push carts, whether owned by the member or the Club.
- Encouraging players who ride together to social distance by alternating walking and riding, either alternating holes or nines, with both players keeping their bags on the cart.
- Providing masks for those needing them so they can be worn by players who are not part of a single household who are riding together and, thus, are not socially distancing.
- Reviewing the need and benefit of having blocks of tee times in the late morning reserved only for players walking and carrying their bags or walking and using push carts. (In this way the carts can complete a morning loop and be available for afternoon play.)
- Instituting, during peak times and when carts are available, an additional per player fee of $15 for 18 holes and $10 for 9 holes for players who request a single rider cart. The pro shop will add a notation on the top of the online tee sheets at least 2 days prior to play when the single rider cart fee is in effect due to the volume of play. The pro shop will also send an email notification to the players on the tee sheet the afternoon before play when the single rider cart fee is in effect. This will aid players in determining whether the options mentioned above can be employed or whether a single rider cart may still be needed.
Clearly, we need members' help and support in order to accommodate the volume of play we expect in October and November when both courses are again available. Beyond walking, it will greatly assist the golf staff if members would:
- Indicate they will need (or are requesting) single rider carts when booking a tee time or, at the very least, make the single cart request two or three days before the booked tee time. This will help staff make every effort to accommodate single rider requests. A note can be added to online tee times requesting a single cart for "x" player(s) and requested verbally when calling in for a time.
- Let the golf staff know who will be walking or sharing a cart two or three days in advance. This will also help predict cart demand to determine if and when the fee for single rider carts may need to be implemented.
- Periodically check the on-line tee sheet as it will be posted at the top of the day's tee sheet when the single rider cart fee has been implemented for a particular day. In this way anyone making same day or prior day times will know the fee is in effect.
We understand that these changes may affect play by some, but our goal is to provide options so that any disruption to play is kept to a minimum while promoting safe play during the ongoing COVID-19 threat. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we make these changes.
Seabrook Island Club Board of Governors