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Golfers heading north to Martin County while courses remain open during coronavirus pandemic

Friday and Saturday numbers doubled, said commissioner
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Posted at 2:42 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 17:25:38-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — With outdoor activities limited in Palm Beach County, some people are heading north and crossing county lines for fun, including hitting the links.

In Martin County, golf course operators are hoping they can stay open as commissioners weigh their options.

At Hammock Creek Golf Course in Palm City, the parking lot was busy Tuesday, but there were still spots to be had.

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The managing partner said they are doing several things to keep their patrons safe including spraying all of the carts down regularly and keeping them at a distance from one another.

On the course, there is orange foam at the base of the flagstick, so no one has to reach in to get their golf ball. Other than that, nothing appeared out of the ordinary.

But at Martin County’s emergency meeting on Monday, several commissioners talked about Palm Beach County closing all of its golf courses, and calls they had been getting about the sudden added popularity of the courses in the county.

“Friday and Saturday’s numbers had doubled, and a majority of those golfers were from out of county,” said Commissioner Doug Smith.

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County administrator Taryn Kryzda said it has limited options when it comes to private courses. She plans to meet with the local health department to ensure golf courses are doing the right thing.

“There’s other things they can do with regard to the equipment itself so there isn’t multiple handling of the equipment,” said Kryzda.

The county closed its only municipal golf course, which actually has been undergoing a renovation.

Kryzda said she hopes visitors aren’t taking advantage of the situation.

“I would hope everyone would heed the warning stay at home as much as you can. I get it that people are a little stir crazy and want to get out,” said Kryzda.

At Hammock Creek, where they have seen a slight increase in out-of-county players, management wants to keep all of its 52 employees on the payroll as long as possible.

For now, it seems the key is making sure people aren’t teed off when others tee it up.