The Illinois Valley Men’s Golf Championship will go on as planned this summer.
The annual tournament is scheduled for Aug. 1-2 at Oak Ridge and Deer Park golf clubs.
“It appears at this moment things are trending in the right direction,” co-director Mason Kimberly said. “It looks like by (Aug. 1-2) Illinois will be in phase 5 of our recovery plan. We just feel that all the local golf courses, especially Oak Ridge and Deer Park — our sites this year — are doing a tremendous job of following the restrictions and regulations and doing their part to make every golfer feel safe.
“This is also a way for golfers to really feel a sense of normalcy, which is what everyone wants. At the same time, we are going to do our part to make sure we’re abiding by all the rules and restrictions set forth by the state government.”
The tournament, which drew about 140 golfers last summer, may look a little different this year as the country is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
“To an extent (any changes are) still up in the air because we don’t know what golf course restrictions in phase 5 are going to be, but we are going to do our part to make sure people are six feet apart at all times, no hand shaking, all scorekeepers will be wearing protective gloves and masks. Any golfer who has played this year knows all the flagsticks have to be left in the cups. In August, that may be something we have to continue to do, which for a lot of competitive golfers is a little weird because we’re used to taking the flagstick out while putting, but it’s going to be the same for everyone. We’ll be encouraging a lot of tournament players to walk rather than share a cart because we don’t know by Aug. 1 if you’ll be allowed to have two per cart. The current restriction is you can only share a cart with an immediate family member. We feel even if these restrictions haven’t eased, we’re still in position where we can host the tournament.”
Kimberly said the main focus this year is safety.
“Year in and year out our goal for the tournament is to grow in both quantity and the qualify of the tournament experience for everyone,” Kimberly said. “As much as we’re going to try to continue to grow the tournament this year, our primary focus is going to be the health and safety of all the players, volunteers and course staff involved.”