On the homepage of the New Albany Country Club's website are the words "Relax, Rejuvenate & Enjoy."

While the club's golf practice facilities are closed and its food services are restricted to carryout and delivery, members still are able to achieve the motto, to an extent, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic given that the club's golf course remains open.

Although a stay-at-home order by Gov. Mike DeWine that began March 23 has quieted the sports world in Ohio, golfers of all types -- newcomers, recreational players or intense competitors -- have been able to work on their games if they're willing to accept some restrictions.

For New Albany sophomore Anna Ritter, a member of New Albany Country Club who earned medalist honors at the Division I state girls tournament last fall as her team won its second consecutive title, it's helped bring a sense of normalcy during uncertain times.

"Most courses are staying open because, like me, people want to get out of their houses and move around," Ritter said. "Playing golf is a great way to do that right now. It's also been nice that courses have been open because, since I live in Ohio, I can't always play outside golf in the winter. I'm taking advantage of the warm weather."

There have been some adjustments, for golfers and for those who manage courses.

Most courses in central Ohio have remained open for participants as long as the players maintain at least a six-foot distance from one another. Because of social distancing measures, many courses aren't allowing the use of carts or are allowing just one person per cart, and many clubhouses are closed.

At Wedgewood Golf & Country Club in Powell, the driving range is closed, and rakes, ball washers and water coolers have been among the items removed to limit possible transmission of the coronavirus.

In addition, a metal disk has been placed at the bottom of the flag so the ball doesn't fall into the cup and participants aren't allowed to touch the flagstick.

Paul Hollenbaugh, the director of golf at New Albany Country Club, said there is "anti-bacterial (hand sanitizer) all over the place" around his course.

He's noticed that social distancing has felt unusual because the nature of the sport often includes shaking hands.

It's also been more difficult to provide golfing tips.

"Our members are permitted to play golf while social distancing since golf was deemed as an essential outdoor activity," said Hollenbaugh, whose daughter, Kary, is a teammate of Ritter. "A funny story since we are walking only (is that I had a) member come up to me the other day and said he has not felt better in 10 years since he has had to walk the golf course. Our members are very appreciative of the ability to get out of the house and exercise and seem more relaxed than the normal hustle and bustle, not as worried about being held up and playing fast like normal. They're also not as obsessed with their score. They're just happy to get out.

"Most children have never been through something like this. Golf seems to give them some normalcy during the four hours they're outside."

For golfers like Ritter, not losing focus might be the No. 1 goal.

The stay-at-home order lasts until 11:59 p.m. May 1, while school buildings have been closed for the remainder of the academic year.

In between online school assignments, Ritter has participated in FaceTime lessons with her personal coach in addition to working with her father, New Albany coach Rich Ritter. Her family has its own putting green and a simulator.

Dublin Jerome junior Tyler Groomes, who was medalist at the Division I state boys tournament last fall, has been practicing regularly at the Country Club at Muirfield Village.

"People can get outside and still maintain social distancing," Groomes said. "Some of the concerns are shared contact spaces such as the flagstick, but I know that some greens keepers have taken measures to limit this contact by flipping cups upside down or putting pool noodles in the cups."

Olentangy Berlin senior Leila Raines has been focused on keeping her game strong in preparation for the fall when she'll join the Michigan State women's team.

She has been out a few times this spring at Wedgewood, where her family has a membership.

"At Wedgewood, we've implemented every best practice we can imagine to eliminate the opportunity for the virus to be spread," general manager Chris Casto said. "Our members have been incredibly supportive of the temporary measures we've taken to eliminate the spread of the virus. Many golfers who typically ride in a golf cart are walking the golf course and realizing the associated physical and mental health benefits that walking can provide. During this unusual time, our members simply appreciate the opportunity to enjoy their passion."

Still, according to Raines, the limitations of not being able to work regularly with her personal coach, J.R. Ables, or with her fitness trainers have been a challenge.

"I'm trying to do my best to finish my high school academics while getting my golf game ready to play at Michigan State, but it does feel a little like playing in a golf tournament without having my driver in my bag," Raines said. "I'm just trying to adjust as best as I can. It feels good to get outside in the sun and get some exercise, although it definitely feels different. I had several tournaments on my schedule that have been canceled. ... We're sending (Ables my) swing and putting videos to review and provide feedback via text. It's definitely not ideal, but it works."

Pickerington North sophomore Carson Bellish, a state qualifier last fall who often plays at Cumberland Trail, is just happy to be out on the course regularly to break up the monotony of the stay-at-home order.

"Allowing for courses to stay open seems to have a huge upside for the game," Bellish said. "With not a lot to do right now, it seems like a lot of people are turning to the golf courses. It's been pretty easy to keep my game sharp being able to play every day."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek