Being an outdoor activity has allowed golf tournaments around Minnesota and the country to withstand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as any sport.
Many events on the course have been played as scheduled this summer, and the 99th Resorters Tournament at the Alexandria Golf Club will join that list as the match-play tournament is ready to run from Aug. 2-8.
“There’s a lot of changes,” AGC golf professional Kyle Lee said on July 20. “We’re definitely communicating as best we can with the contestants, giving them the lay of the land, informing them on our COVID policy.”
The primary goal of the Resorters committee is to remove as many contact points on the course as they can. That includes taking advantage of technology as it pertains to scoring.
Lee said the Resorters committee has looked at how the Minnesota Golf Association has handled its tournaments this summer. The MGA’s guidelines have included tracking scores electronically to avoid the exchange of physical scorecards between players and officials.
The Resorters Tournament has already encouraged players to use a phone app such as Golf Genius in past tournaments. This has players enter their scores hole-by-hole. When players use it, the app allows fans the chance to follow along with ongoing matches. That electronic score keeping becomes even more important at this year’s event.
“We’re really trying to go paperless and touchless as much as we can,” Lee said. “That’s the whole goal. We’ll have a scoring area where you will come and just verify your score with us. In front of you, there will be a TV screen that you can see. I’ll be sitting at a computer six or eight feet away. You see your score, verify that’s what you shot, and I hit confirm and away we go.”
The field itself won’t be cut. Player entries are actually up from last year, with the field filling out quickly once registration started. As of July 20, the total number of participants was at 356 between 10 different divisions -- Junior 10-12 and 13-15s, men’s regular, men’s championship, men’s executive, men’s seniors, men’s masters, men’s grand masters, women’s regular and women’s executive.
“We paid attention to what the MGA was doing, what the PGA was doing, what the state guidelines were. All those things were part of the consideration of whether we could even have Resoters. All those guidelines, we felt like we can do,” Lee said. “We can check all those boxes with what it looks like in the patio seating and downstairs and with our volunteers and concession stands. We’ll keep the flow of traffic moving and the congregation limited. We’re on a golf course with a bunch of acres, and we can use them.”
The annual putting contest for contestants will still run on the Wednesday night of Resorters week, and fans will also be allowed to be on the course to follow matches.
“The big thing is we’re going to have signs out reminding people to social distance and do the right thing,” Lee said. “The pro shop is going to be wearing masks, and we’re going to limit the people in the pro shop. We’re going to have a tent outside for cart rentals, so that will be an outside process this year. We’re going to sanitize all our carts and sanitize all the high touch points. Then just try to keep our distance from each other.”
Lee said the field of golfers this year will feature a lot of talented players again throughout each division. The 2019 championship flight winners were Cecil Belisle (men’s championship), Troy Johnson (men’s executive), Steve Herzog (men’s senior), Dave Battey (men’s master), Tom Eidsvold (men’s grand master), Leah Herzog (women’s regular), Betsy Aldrich (women’s executive), Thomas Gogel (junior 13-15) and Carver Larson (junior 10-12).
“There’s no doubt with the registration and the way that went this year, the need for it is incredible,” Lee said. “People want to play golf and they want to compete. In that sense, it’s going to be a normal Resorters. It’s just going to be a lot more paying attention, doing the right thing and taking care of yourself, as well as others. There’s ways to do it. We’re using technology the best we can. Golf is lucky in that we have a lot of acres, and it’s outside.”