NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — No sports to play? Wrong! Burns Park Golf Course has been open the past couple of weeks for anyone who wants to play a couple holes.
As one of the only sporting activities to do, the public course has been staying very busy during the COVID-19 chronicles.
“Our phone, for the last three weeks, has been ringing off the hook,” golf manager Steve Ralston said. “We can’t get to everybody. It’s been ringing so much.”
Business has been booming, but it’s been different. In order to stay socially distant they’ve shifted from eight minute tee times to 12 minutes, no more than one person per cart, and do all business transactions over the phone.
“Call in, get a tee time,” Ralston said. “Pay with a credit card over the phone. What we do is come out with a table in front, we put keys down for them and their receipt and they go to the tee.”
Even the pro shop has been closed, except to use the bathrooms.
North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith and park director Terry Hartwick decided to keep Burns Park open, as long as there were plenty of improved safety standards.
“We’ve staged our golf carts farther apart leaving one out in between each one,” Ralston said. “When a golf cart comes in, we spray the cart, get it cleaned up, get it ready to go back out. Or at night, after we wash them and sterilize them we bring them up in the morning and do the same thing. We go ahead and sterilize them again.
“We pulled in the rakes. We don’t want people grabbing a rake that somebody else might have handled,” Ralston added. “We’ve also put foam on the bottom of the pins. The foam is set far enough to where the ball will go in and you can just reach over with two fingers and pick it out with no problem.”
Burns Park isn’t the only golf course open. The ones that are still in business share ideas with each other to provide maximum sanitation.
“I’d like to thank the mayor of Little Rock,” Ralston said. “We’ve gotten a lot of new faces over here met a lot of new friends and hopefully some of the people enjoy coming back.”