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River Oaks reopens with restrictions
reopened river oaks
River Oaks Golf Course & Event Center re-opened with restrictions last month. A plexiglass barrier was installed in front of the cash register in the clubhouse to protect customers and employees.

River Oaks Golf Course & Event Center re-opened with restrictions on April 27.

The family-owned Ceres business had been closed since March 20 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“You have to adhere to the rules to play golf,” said Greg Silva, veteran golf professional.

River Oaks implemented state-mandated guidelines to keep its employees and the general public safe.

Restrictions include golf in twosomes, riding one person per cart (two if they’re from the same family) and limiting access to the clubhouse to two people at a time.

“The owners, the Thornberrys and Halls, are taking it very serious because lives are important,” Silva said. “There are a lot of restrictions because it (COVID-19) is so easy to spread. Everything has to be sanitized before it’s reused.”

River Oaks reopened at 7 a.m. on April 27.

About 40 people played golf, and used the practice putting green and driving range during business hours.

“I haven’t given a golf lesson since March 1,” Silva said. “My wife has incurable cancer. Her immune system is down. The last thing I want to do is bring the virus back to the house.”

River Oaks employee/former Ceres High standout boys golfer Gary Condit had to take a leave of absence from work due to health issues.

Condit had to be hospitalized his junior and senior years in high school after suffering collapsed lungs.

He was diagnosed with spontaneous pneumothorax.

“My health has been good,” Condit said. “I’m going to take time off until the virus settles down. It’s purely out of caution for my health. I have to be careful because I’m susceptible.”

Modesto’s Dryden and Creekside golf courses, and Turlock Golf & Country Club have also reopened.

“I’ve been practicing a lot in Turlock,” Central Valley High School sophomore boys golf star Matteo Bonales said. “I’m trying to get my game back to where it was at. I was on a break for a month.”

“I do miss golf because I’ve been playing it my whole life,” CVHS  junior girls golf standout Amelia Daoheung said. “I’m pretty excited to get back out there. I’ll probably go to Creekside or Dryden to practice. The last time I played was in February.”