Jamestown golf courses prepare to open

Hillcrest golf course carts.jpg
The carts at the Hillcrest Golf Course in Jamestown appear to be ready for golfers as area courses are preparing to open. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Be kind and patient.

That was the message given by Director Doug Hogan following Tuesday's special meeting of the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission, where commissioners unanimously approved a "soft open" of Hillcrest Golf Course set to begin Friday.

The course will open daily between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. for walking and pull carts only. The use of powered golf carts, while under consideration, won't be allowed initially and will be reviewed by park board officials next week.

Also, no walk-ups will be permitted. Tee times will need to be established for groups no larger than four by calling the clubhouse at 701-252-4320 or online at

"We're hoping people pay attention to the social distancing ... rules and procedures," Hogan said. "We're putting this together to allow people the privilege to get out and golf and do something besides nothing."


The course will not be equipped with bunker rakes, ball washers, garbage cans, water coolers or flagsticks, which should help prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. The driving range will be operating between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. with limited spots spaced 10 feet apart. The putting green will not be made available for use.

Hillcrest Golf Course Superintendent John Miller explained holes will be placed in the center of the greens with the cups placed upside down to prevent balls from falling into holes, forcing golfers to retrieve them by hand.

"We're not going to do flagsticks," Miller said. "I'm gonna cut a cup just in the center of the green. No flagsticks, no bunker rakes, no tee markers or anything like that."

The Hillcrest Pro Shop will only be open for a single patron at a time, to either register or pay for green fees, range balls or pull cart rentals, and will be sanitized between customers. No cash transactions will be permitted, only credit or debit cards, and Parks and Rec expressed it will prefer green fees to be paid either over the phone or online.

Along with no club rentals, the Pro Shop restroom will be closed. Portable toilets will be placed at the Pro Shop and on the 13th hole, while the vault bathroom on the front nine will also be open for use as well.

Hogan said restroom facilities will be sanitized throughout the day, but suggested golfers bring their own sanitary wipes or any other personal protective equipment.

"We recommend they bring their own," Hogan said. "Just for their own sense of safety."

The action to open Jamestown's public golf course is following a local and regional trend. Fargo announced the planned opening of four of its fives public courses this week, while Bismarck public courses -- Tom O'Leary, Pebble Creek and Riverwood -- all opened earlier this month.


Minnesota's golf industry was reopened Saturday by Gov. Tim Walz, while Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has announced the opening of his state's courses beginning April 24.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum did not include golf courses on the state's mandated list of closed businesses due to the novel coronavirus. He's scheduled to revisit the current businesses and school closures on May 1.

"This is all fluid," said Mindi Schmitz, Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission chairman. "We should still have these rules in place, for the time being. I think as commissioners that's a good thing to do."

Groups will not be allowed to congregate and anyone feeling sick is asked to stay home.

"We're gonna do the best we can," Hogan said. "If we need to make some changes on the fly then we'll have to do it."

JCC to open May 1

The Jamestown Country Club will be opening for members May 1, according to general manager Shawn Taft.

The restaurant will remain closed, per state order, and the club will be instructing members to adhere to social distancing guidelines out on the course.

"Most states recognize that golf is something that you can social distance with," Taft said. "It's a good alternative for people who want to get out and do something."


The country club will utilize cups and pins, but golfers will not be allowed to remove flags from holes and balls will be retrieved without the direct use of hands by a device outfitted to each flag.

"Once the ball goes in the hole, you use your putter to pull up on a hook and it pulls the ball out of the hole," Taft explained.

The country club sent out its adjusted procedures of operation to members on April 18.

Hillcrest golf course 042220.jpg
Jamestown's Hillcrest Golf Course opened with some restrictions on Friday, April 24. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
What To Read Next
Get Local