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**UPDATE TO STORY (6/6/20): PHASE II WILL BEGIN ON MONDAY, JUNE 8, 2020**
NORTON, Massachusetts – The Alliance of Massachusetts Golf Organizations (AMGO) is encouraged to see advance notice of the latest golf industry guidelines that have been issued by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker as part of the state’s Workplace Re-Opening Plan.
Golf remains a safe and beneficial recreational activity, and relaxing some of the existing guidelines will help courses better serve the players as we enter peak golf season.
These guidelines address several of AMGO’s requests that were proposed to the Governor’s Administration last month, including the opening of driving ranges and practice areas, reduced tee times intervals, and the opening of clubhouses, pro shops, common areas, including public restrooms, and restaurants under specific guidelines.
“It’s a step in the right direction that the golf industry is now specifically mentioned in the state’s Re-Opening Plan,” said Jesse Menachem, Executive Director/CEO of Mass Golf. “Having advance notice of the Phase II guidelines will particularly benefit our more than 360 Member Clubs, as they now have some time to make the adjustments, bring on staff and obtain the supplies they need to be prepared to accommodate golfers to the best of their abilities once Phase II begins.”
The new safety standards and checklist for golf facilities were published on the Mass.Gov website on Wednesday, June 3. Until Phase II commences, golfers and facilities must abide by the current guidelines for golf courses, found on the Mass.gov COVID-19 Essential Services FAQ page.
“We ask all Mass Golf Members to keep doing the right thing to help ensure these guidelines are enacted sooner rather than later,” Menachem said.
Here are some of the most notable changes that will be enacted once Phase II commences:
“We are thrilled to hear that driving ranges are included in the Phase II guidelines,” said Michael Higgins, Executive Director of the New England PGA. “New England PGA Professionals are excited to go back to work providing instruction to their members, students and growing the game we all love.”
Other aspects, such as caddies, bag handlers, indoor driving ranges, gyms, locker rooms and bars will not be accessible until either Phase III or Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan.
Dave Frem, the general manager of Cyprian Keyes GC in Boylston, said he’s glad to see some of the restrictions lifted but at the same time still would like to see more relaxed policies for things like golf carts and even shorter tee time intervals.
“It will allow us to provide more of a full golf experience again,” Frem said of the new guidelines. “More can be done, and I think more restrictions can be lifted without compromising the safety of our employees.”
Still, “It’s encouraging to get a few steps closer to whatever the new normal will be,” said Don Hearn, Executive Director of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of New England.
Several New England states have also relaxed some of their golf guidelines, including Rhode Island, which now allows out of state players, so long as the player aren’t from a state with an existing Stay-At-Home Order or traveling internationally.
This is particularly helpful for interstate competitions, such as New England Golf Association (NEGA) events, that are scheduled to take place later this year.
“While there are certainly still items to be addressed in future phases, and we wish it had happened earlier, we are pleased that facilities will have some advanced notice to implement these changes and continue to provide a safe atmosphere for their members, guests, and staff,” said Greg Howell, Manager of NEGA Operations. “We are excited about the NEGA qualifiers and Championships that we have in Massachusetts this year, and these changes appear to allow for competitive golf to happen.”
The Alliance of Massachusetts Golf Organizations (AMGO) is made up of golf industry representatives from the state of Massachusetts working collectively to advocate for golf course owners/operators and golfers and to illustrate the tremendous importance that the golf industry has to the Commonwealth and its citizens.
The Bay State golf economy stands as an industry leader in generating jobs, driving visitors to our state, keeping manufacturing local, giving back to charitable causes, taking care of our environment and providing a fun and safe active past time for people of all ages and skill levels.
New England Section of the PGA of America
New England Golf Course Owners Association
Golf Course Superintendents Association of New England
Golf Course Superintendents Association of Cape Cod
New England Chapter, Club Management Association of America
New England Golf Association
Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund
ABOUT MASS GOLF
Mass Golf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing golf in Massachusetts by promoting its competitive spirit and camaraderie. With a community made up of over 85,000 golf enthusiasts and over 360 member clubs, Mass Golf is the seventh-largest state golf association in the country.
Members enjoy the benefits of handicapping, course rating and scoring services along with the opportunity to compete in an array of events for golfers of all ages and abilities. At the forefront of junior development, Mass Golf is proud to offer programming to youth in the state through The First Tee of Massachusetts and subsidized rounds of golf by way of Youth on Course.