Getting back on the greens will be a reality for golfers by next week, starting Monday, May 11, Village Management Services CEO Jeff Parker announced during a regular meeting of the Golden Rain Foundation board on Tuesday, May 5.
“That is, of course, going to be with restrictions and operational controls,” Parker said. “(This is to) ensure social distancing and to ensure that we have as few touch points as possible with regards to the structure of riding in the golf carts, the flags, the cups — we won’t nearly have as many touch points as we would in a normal golfing activity.”
In moving toward the early stage of phase two of a four-stage plan, Gov. Gavin Newsom has greenlighted the reopening of “lower-risk businesses” and public spaces as Orange County counts over 3,000 cases and 65 deaths from COVID-19.
Parker noted that the state’s latest instruction provides more flexibility on a county level, as phase two allows local authorities to set looser reopening directives as long as conditions meet certain criteria with a readiness plan in place.
As scheduled, outdoor tennis will follow shortly after golfing with plans to reopen midweek, as early as May 13 if all goes well, Parker said. He and his team are waiting to hear more regarding other outdoor activities such as pickleball and paddle tennis once phase two guidelines are released by the county.
In addition to his COVID-19 updates, Parker announced that Saddleback College Emeritus Institute’s decision to host its fall semester classes exclusively online is final.
“They won’t be changing their mind,” Parker said.
The popular program hopes to return to regular, in-class operations by spring semester.
Holiday clubhouse hours
In an effort to reduce costs, the board passed a resolution that cuts clubhouse operational hours — with the exception of Clubhouse One and Seven — on select holidays, totaling about $13,000 in annual savings.
The board amended the original resolution to clarify the exclusion of Clubhouse Seven bridge room, and to make an exception for Clubhouse One operations, keeping their doors open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the limited-hours schedule.
“I think that closing down (Clubhouse One) at 4 p.m. is not very realistic,” Director Pat English said, noting the previous meeting’s proposal to extend it from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. She noted that she is always in favor of saving money, but does not consider the modified hours practical, as there is no time for clean up.
Director Joe Fitzekam, who sits on the Community Activities Committee, said he does not believe an additional two-hour extension would face objection by the committee based on its past discussions.
As proposed, all clubhouses — excluding Clubhouse One and Seven — will operate on limited hours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the following holidays: President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day and Friday after Thanksgiving.
Clubhouse One will operate until 6 p.m on the aforementioned holidays. The financial impact of Clubhouse One’s operational hour extension is not reflected in the staff report.
All clubhouses will be closed on New Year’s Day, since reservations have historically been nonexistent, according to a staff report.
No changes will be made for clubhouses on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which operate at regular hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The new measures will cut holiday pay — 1.5 times base pay — from 84 hours to about 30 hours.
VMS Recreation and Special Events Director Brian Gruner confirmed that the annual Fourth of July event outside of Clubhouse Two would not be affected by the resolution.
GRF passed the resolution as amended by majority vote. Modifications to holiday operating hours will begin in January.
Special accommodation policy
GRF passed a resolution that would waive or reduce guest fees for certain reciprocal or charitable events hosted by the Men’s 18-Hole Golf Club.
According to a staff report, the special accommodation would result in an $18,448 loss in revenue.
Board members noted that this fee waiver would be offset by the club’s annual contributions to the Foundation of Laguna Woods Village, which typically amounts upwards of $30,000.
Only three of six proposed events were approved for the special accommodation.
Tournaments waiving guests fees would include the Memorial Golf Tournament, Men’s Silver Senior Golf Team Matches and Laguna Woods Men’s Club Member/Guest Tournament, a staff report stated.
GRF approved the resolution by majority vote. The resolution must now satisfy a 28-day notification requirement.
Equestrian Center pricing policy
GRF voted in favor of a resolution that revises the Equestrian Center’s pricing policy, increasing shared community costs by 5% and reducing operational costs by $25,000.
Horse boarding fees will reduce from $319 to $249 per month as the shared community cost rises by $8, VMS CFO Betty Parker said during last month’s meeting.
The board approved the resolution by majority vote. All invoice amounts will change on June 1 for the remainder of the year, a staff report stated.