By Nathan Ham
On Friday, Sugar Mountain Golf Club opened up its 18-hole course for the season, giving people in the High Country another option for getting out to enjoy what will hopefully be some beautiful spring weather.
“Golf courses are allowed to be open and we wanted to make sure people know we are open and we do have COVID-19 guidelines in place,” said Sugar Mountain Village Manager Susan Phillips. “We feel it’s a safe way for people to be able to get out and get some stress release, and with the restrictions in place, it’s a great way to get out and enjoy some nice weather.”
Tom McAullife is the course manager for Sugar Mountain Golf Club, and he says that they opened about two weeks later than they had originally hoped, but that the staff is ready for the golf season.
“It is important for our staff here, they just feel so much better having a place to go. I know it is important for many of us to stay quarantined for our own good, but eventually, we’ve got to venture out to certain degrees and take measured steps to do that. No one knows what the future holds but we’re very positive and optimistic,” said McAullife. “We are a firm believer in the outdoors and fresh air, and to make the golf course safe for just that.”
Social distancing protocols and increased cleaning procedures are in place to make sure everyone is as safe as possible while on the course. Only one person is allowed in each golf cart, and when a golf cart comes back in from being used on the course, there is a disinfectant area where the cart is sterilized before the next use. Foodservice will be in operation, however, golfers will have to eat in their carts or take food home with them since they cannot congregate or eat on the deck overlooking the course. The golf clubhouse is allowed to have two people inside at a time and no cash payments are being accepted at this time, only credit card payments.
“We will be watching the social distancing between players together on the golf course, keep groups separated as they play and within the group itself, keep monitoring people at a safe distance,” McAullife said.
On the course, Tom said other precautions being taken include no bunker rakes being used and an elevated cup for the ball to go into.
“There are pins in the cups so you can see where you are shooting and we have elevated the cup so you don’t have to touch anything when you pick the ball up. It will fall in the hole about halfway in,” he said.
Optimism abounds for the folks at Sugar Mountain Golf Club. While things are unpredictable and can be scary at times, being able to get together with some friends and play a round of golf is a great source of exercise and a good stress reliever in these unprecedented times.
“We are looking forward to the interactions that the golf course affords all of us. It has been a harrowing and difficult time so anything we can do to safely return to some degree of normalcy I think will have a positive mental and physical affect on people. That’s why we’re here and we will prevail, I know that” said Tom.
For more information and to secure a tee time at Sugar Mountain Golf Club, visit their website at https://seesugar.com/golf/.
COVID-19 Guidelines and Rules for Public Play
PAYMENT – Players must pay by credit card or online at seesugar.com/golf. No cash will be accepted at this time and ask that tee times be made in advance.
SOCIAL DISTANCING – Players must maintain a six-foot distance between themselves and any other person at all times. There will be only two customers at one time allowed in the Pro Shop.
PUTTING GREEN IS CLOSED – To prevent those that are waiting to tee off from congregating together.
ON COURSE – Players are encouraged to walk and play their round, however, carts will be available with only one customer per cart allowed. Carts will be sanitized at the completion of each round before put back into use. There will be no golf ball washers, sandboxes, tee markers, or rakes in the bunkers. Bunkers are to be played as ground under repair. No water coolers will be provided on the course. The restrooms at the 9th green will not be in operation. Flagsticks will be in place, however, the holes will be set so golf balls will not fall into the hole eliminating the need to touch or pull the flagstick from the hole.
FOOD SERVICE – Once the Caddyshack Cafe opens, food will be available for take-out only. Customers may not sit on the deck to eat food.
Sugar Mountain Golf Club Season Rates
LOW SEASON RATES (APRIL 11-MAY 21, 2020 AND SEPT 14-OCT 31, 2020)
18 Holes: $20 green fee, $18 cart fee: Total – $38
9 Holes: $15 green fee, $10 cart fee: Total – $25
After 3 PM Walking: $15 green fee
After 4 PM: $15 green fee, $10 cart fee: Total – $25
HIGH SEASON RATES (MAY 22-SEPT 13, 2020)
18 Holes: $30 green fee, $18 cart fee: Total – $48
After 2 PM 18 Holes: $20 green fee, $18 cart fee – Total $38
9 Holes: $20 green fee, $10 cart fee: Total – $30
After 2 PM 9 Holes: $14 green fee, $10 cart fee – Total $24
After 4 PM: $15 green fee, $10 cart fee – Total $25
Season Memberships: This annual membership permits the player to walk at
no additional charge or pay a cart fee of $18 per player for 18 holes
or $10 per player for 9 holes.
Village Property Owner: Individual – $545 | Couple – $695
Non Village Property Owner: Individual – $595 | Couple – $795
Local Pass: $50 This one-time fee is a riding pass only for permanent residents of
Avery, Ashe, Watauga, Mitchell and Carter County Tennessee. It allows the player to pay a rate of:
Low Season (April 11-May 21, 2020 and September 14-October 31, 2020)
$15 green fee, $10 cart fee – Total $25
High Season (May 22-September 13, 2020)
$20 green fee, $18 cart fee – Total $38
After 4 PM $15 green fee, $10 cart fee – Total $25