THUNDER BAY – Some Thunder Bay golfers are being eliminated due to the decision to permanently eliminate the use of golf ball washers on the two city-operated courses.
A city official, however, says it will ultimately help keep the courses in good condition.
The washers, along with the sand trap rakes, were initially removed as part of COVID-19 precautions to reduce the number of common contact points and mitigate the spread of the virus.
Rakes have now been returned to Bunkers, while Ball Cleaners remain in storage.
Although there has been some pushback, golf services supervisor Pat Berezowski says golf ball washers have become a convenience over the years, and he thinks that during the pandemic people have accustomed to their absence.
In an interview on Monday, he also said their retention had a price.
“It’s a real cost to the golf course not just to replace ball washers, or parts, when they break, but just for the labor involved in maintaining them. The fluids it takes to put in the ball puck, the towels that go next to the washing machine, we put them in in the winter, we take them out in the spring, so all those kinds of labor costs can be avoided if we find another option , and that’s what we tried to do here.”
This other option is for golfers to dip a towel into buckets of water that have been placed at the first and 10th tees of the Chapples and Strathcona courses.
Berezowski said most golfers already have towels attached to their bags, but they can also be purchased at the clubhouse for five dollars.
“By wetting your towel, you can wash this golf ball all over the golf course, not just on the first tee, second or fifth tee. Maybe you want to use this towel to wash your clubs during a game. golf like Maybe you hit a big divot on one of the holes and you have a lot of mud on your club, so you can use this towel not only to make your golf ball, but also your club.
He said the city hopes golfers will also understand that money saved in labor and parts costs can be spent on other things important to keeping courses in good condition.
“Just try to realize from your own perspective what you can do to help your golf course. And if you can do something yourself to take care of your equipment, that will really help the golf course in the long run. … and will allow us more time to devote to lawn maintenance.”
Three private golf courses in the Thunder Bay area that were randomly contacted by TBnewswatch all continue to provide ball washing equipment to their players.