While the staff at Cedar Hill Golf Course want people to be outside and exercising, they’re asking you to just not do it on the golf course.
Carole Ireland, manager of the golf course, says since they closed a little over a week ago to help stop the spread of COVID-19, staff have noticed up to 60 people per day using the course when they shouldn’t be.
“Some of them are heading out there to golf for free, we’ve had lacrosse, we’ve had families playing in the sand traps, we’ve had soccer, baseball and people walking their dogs,” she says.
Ireland says that while some people are receptive when reminded the golf course is closed and asked to get off the property, others — not so much.
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people who take issue with what they’re being told and they’re very disrespectful to the staff and very defiant.” The problem has gotten so bad that uniformed security has been hired to patrol the grounds when staff are finished their shifts. “It’s a hard position for the staff to be in,” says Ireland. “They’re disappointed the golf course is closed and they want it to be used, but it needs to be used in a way that’s not going to be damaging.”
Ireland says people don’t seem to understand that the putting greens are the most sensitive areas, and by walking across them or letting dogs run through that area it chews the grass up and causes a “significant amount of damage repair that the staff has to do.”
“We’re always monitoring the course for health and we can’t let it grow over because it would be extremely costly to get back and that’s a cost the district doesn’t really need to bear [right now],” she says.
Ireland says she’d like to remind people that the District of Saanich has more than 170 parks for people to use for exercise during the pandemic, along with parks in other municipalities.
The Cedar Hill Golf Course Chip Trail Loop, along with the Derby Road connector that runs at about the halfway point of the course remain open for people who need to cross the property.
Ireland says both of those trails offer lots of space to step off the path, but only if you’re doing so to let someone by and keep your physical distance.
Another concern Ireland has is the risk of being hit in the head with a golf ball if you’re near a blind corner.
“When the golf course is open, it’s easy for us to control … we know which way they’re going and they know where to go, they understand the rules of the golf course,” she says. “But when people are out there doing whatever, the risk is actually greater.”