GOLF courses in Metro Manila and four neighboring provinces covered by the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) bubble have been allowed to reopen, but under more stringent guidelines.
The decision was announced on Friday night by the Inter Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), just hours after the Defense department allowed military courses to resume operations.
The Villamor, Navy, and Aguinaldo courses opened at dawn on Saturday, but private clubs are not expected to follow suit until Sunday at the earliest as they put in the new requirements, including the tee reservations.
Oddly, Veterans Golf Club in Quezon City, which is also operated by the military, still wasn't open on Saturday.
By Sunday, all courses in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Laguna that have been shut down since the NCR-Plus bubble was placed under lockdown in late March are expected to be back swinging.
See this announcement from Orchard Golf and Country Club in Cavite:
The new IATF guidelines, which will be implemented by the National Golf Association of the Philippines (NGAP), reinforce the physical-distancing protocols that have already been in place in golf courses in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walk-in players will not be allowed in all courses and military courses are only accepting reservation requests from enlisted personnel and civilian members until further notice. Locker room services also remain suspended.
The number of caddies reporting for work must correspond to players with reservations. Only players can load their bags on golf carts or pull carts and caddies are required to stay at lease three meters from their players at all times.
Caddies, however, may pull the carts but are barred from touching or clean the clubs or golf balls.
Driving ranges have also reopened with the number of tee girls or tee boys limited to the barest minimum. Other than delivering balls, the tee boys and tee girls are not allowed to either tee golf balls or touch equipment.
Tee times will be 15 minutes apart with a maximum of four players per flight. Al fresco dining is allowed, but alcoholic beverages won't be served.
Here are the guidelines released by the NGAP on Saturday.