The summer’s first member-guest golf tournament is a go, although it might be more of a go with caution.
Scranton Canoe Club and is going ahead with its signature event, which will be contested Father’s Day weekend, albeit with far less pomp and party.
“Our plan is to move forward with it right now,” said Barry Westington, golf chairman at Canoe Club on Lake Winola in Wyoming County. “Obviously, it’s going to be an atmosphere-changed kind of thing. It’s more centralized on a golf tournament than a social event.”
While the golf has always been the focal point of member-guest weekend, the camaraderie is equally important. But with the coronavirus pandemic, much has changed as the courses closely follow state-mandated guidelines.
Currently, Wyoming County is yellow, according to the state guidelines for events. That means groups can gather in clusters no larger than 25, provided they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Bigger logistical problems exist for the nine-hole course.
Unless partners are immediate family members, it’s one player per cart.
This situation exists at the Canoe Club, where there are just a dozen motorized carts, although a number of players traditionally walk and bring their own caddies.
“Typically we have 60 teams,” Westington said. “That’s subject to whether things open up a little bit. I know we are going yellow, but we have to do a third wave of tee times on Friday in order to get 60 teams in. The option is, if we can’t, we may have to go to a 48-team field. We may not get there. We have 30 applications so far and we opened it two weeks ago. We’re playing that by ear.
“We’re lucky to have the longest day of the year as one of our qualifying days so we can go pretty late in the day. When you have three waves, you still have people subject to hanging around and then keeping them separated is a little tougher still.”
Canoe Club had little option but to cancel its Friday night dinner, Westington said, and the lack of carts is multiplied by the mandates.
“We have 12 carts and we have to make them available on a seniority basis,” Westington said. “People who are age 72 and older do get first shot at it. We’re trying to walk through all these different scenarios to try to keep everyone happy, but you’re never going to keep everyone happy in a perfect scenario.
“This year only, we’re looking at allowing people to take a pull cart, just because you have to.”
Caddies can be immediate family only. With the size limitations on gatherings, plans are to put up extra tents in case of a rain delay.
“We’re trying to cover all bases and figure out how to do it,” Westington said. “I said to everyone on the committee, we have to rethink what we’re doing here. It’s a golf tournament, and if it’s handing out the scorecards ahead of time and you turn them in and go home and check your email for scores, that type of thing, that’s probably how it’s going to have to go for the entire year.
“We’re more centered around having it as a golf tournament just to get the name on the board, get the event done, have champion, and then go back to what we’re going to do next year.”