Hygienic protocols and operational modifications are in effect
LOS CABOS, Mexico (July 1, 2020) – Following a two and a half-month quarantine due to COVID-19, outdoor recreational activities in Los Cabos, including golf, reopened as of June 15 based on an upgrade to the destination’s COVID alert level.
Carlos Mendoza Davis, Governor of Baja California Sur (BCS), stated that because “the pace of the pandemic remains stable,” with a “low volume of infections,” a gradual reopening of economic activity in BCS was permissible. He added that the state’s goal is to “achieve the necessary balance between pandemic control and economic recovery.”
The tourism sector in BCS has been steadily preparing for the reopening by establishing health protocols. Efforts to make Los Cabos a safe destination were recognized by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which last week awarded its global safety stamp of approval to the region in recognition of the hygienic and sanitary measures that have been adopted.
Golf, recognized as a safe ‘social distancing’ sport, is a key driver of upscale tourism to Los Cabos, the dazzling desert-meets-ocean destination at the tip of the Baja Peninsula.
“Golf is one of the recreational activities that can be confidently practiced in open natural spaces during the COVID-19 period by maintaining the correct physical distancing and following health safety standards,” said Rodrigo Esponda, Managing Director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board. “Golf facilities in Los Cabos have prepared a set of protocols (see below) to ensure that visiting players have a safe and enjoyable golf experience.”
According to Cynthia Ontiveros, the Tourism Board’s Golf Director, “In addition to routine maintenance programs like aeration and verticutting, many of the clubs in Los Cabos completed long-deferred projects during the shutdown. As a result, course conditions are excellent right now. There are also value-priced rates available at selected facilities.”
Mario Navarro, head pro at Rancho San Lucas Golf Club, which opened to international acclaim in February, said, “We’re obviously very excited to be getting back to work and welcoming players to our links-style course on the Pacific. We’re skipping over our spring / shoulder season rates and moving directly to discounted summer rates starting this month, which represents a savings of $50 USD per green fee.”
At Quivira Golf Club, home to an epic Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Land’s End, director of golf Antonio Reynante noted that the entire layout was top-dressed during the shutdown following a series of agronomic upgrades. “We’re very happy with the results,” he said. “The maintenance crew did a phenomenal job. The course looks sensational, and playability has been enhanced.”
Health protocols are in place at all Cabo courses to ensure that golf can be played safely in a clean environment. Each club has instituted its own safety rules, but these general initiatives are in effect:
- Tee times are scheduled 15 minutes apart to encourage social spacing
- One player per cart unless additional player is a family member
- Tees, ball markers, pencils and scorecards will be placed in the golf cart
- Golfers are advised to stay at least six feet away from other groups not traveling with them, both on the course and inside / outside clubhouse
- Clubs have installed a foam noodle in base of cups for easy ball retrieval; or installed “touchless golf cups” that use the One Touch system to allow removal of ball without touching the cup
- Players must avoid contact with flagstick
- Bunker rakes have been removed from all courses; players may “lift and place” in all bunkers
- Employees will practice physical distancing with all golfers as well as other employees
- Face masks will be worn by all employees while on property
- Hand sanitizer dispensers are placed in the golf shop, inside the men’s and women’s bathrooms, on the counter at the golf shop and snack bars, etc.
- Cleaning staff will maintain a hygienic clubhouse by sanitizing bathrooms, chairs, tables, door handles, etc.
- Golfers are encouraged to use credit or debit cards for payments and avoid cash as much as possible (with exception of staff tips to be placed directly in “Tip Jar”)
- Staff can clean clubs at golfer request
- Golfers will be followed by staff to parking lot in order to retrieve golf cart
- Golf carts and their components will be sanitized before and after each round, to include steering wheel, sand mix containers, club washer and ice chest. Clubs use bleach and isopropyl alcohol (70%) in accordance with CDC recommended practices
- GPS screens will be sanitized with special products in order to avoid damage to touchscreen
- Rental clubs will be sanitized before and after each round
These safety policies and operational guidelines will be in effect for the foreseeable future. As the state government begins to lower risk levels in the coming weeks and months, golf facilities will be free to add amenities and eventually return to normal operations.