Coronavirus: Napa County allows residents to return to golf courses, but not without new guidelines

YOUNTVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- So close, so far.

At Vintners Golf Club in Yountville, Wednesday was day 35 of what most describe too much social distancing.

Day 35 would be the last.

"Am I supposed to wear a mask in here?" asked General Manager Jason Boldt.

For him, tomorrow brings relief.

Napa County has clarified rules that will allow residents to play golf, and also for a resumption of construction work.

The county is also formally encouraging residents to wear masks anywhere outside, including on golf courses.

Still, the telephone at Vintners never seemed to stop ringing as word spread fast and desperate golfers scrambled for tee times, despite warnings that they'll be dealing with new rules.

Most California golf courses remain closed. Boldt sounded like a broken record talking to caller after caller. "You can't rent power carts, pull darts, and it's twosomes only."

"No worries," said some of the regulars like Sean Murray.

"How often do you play?" ABC7's Wayne Freedman asked him.

"Oh, five times a week."

For the sake of safety, golfers will play with no rakes in sand bunkers.

They will find no flags on the greens.

And the cups? Inverted. Sticking up.

"That way, nobody has to reach inside," explained superintendent John Kruger.

Expect more rules changes on the driving range.

"That's going to be another fiasco," he said with sarcastic mirth. "No hitting balls side-by-side in stalls. Practice ten feet apart."

And, the balls will get special treatment, explained Boldt. "We have to sanitize the balls. Wash and soap the balls. And we put them out every morning."

There was a long pause. He tried not to laugh.

Golf humor. "I know. I know," he said.

"We're just happy it's open."

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