Golf Courses Have Re-Opened: What You Need To Know - MASSGOLF

GOVERNOR’S ADMINISTRATION issues best practices guidelines TO ENSURE SAFETY as GOLF courses WELCOME GOLFERS STATEWIDE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 7, 2020

NORTON, Massachusetts – Mass Golf is exhilarated about the reopening of golf courses & facilities all across the Bay State as of Thursday, May 7.

ONLINE: GUIDELINES FOR GOLFERS AND COURSES GUIDANCE FOR RULES OF GOLF AND HANDICAPPING MASS GOLF EVENTS

Golf is a healthy outdoor activity that is viable and relatively low risk. It is also an outlet for people to exercise and seek some physical and mental respite from the state’s stay-at-home advisory, all while supporting economic activity and employment in the local golf industry. With vast areas of open space with fresh-cut grass, trees, streams and ponds, a golf course provides the unique ability for social distancing in a stress-free environment.

That said, there are guidelines that will be in place to protect the safety of our golf community, including players, golf course staff, and club and course officials. These changes cover everything from booking a tee time to departing the golf course, and all things between. The ultimate goal is to keep everyone safe while they’re playing and to prevent the spread of COIVD-19.

As golf season resumes, it is the responsibility of members and employees at all Massachusetts golf courses and facilities to strictly adhere to these guidelines that the state’s Re-Opening Advisory Board has issued to ensure that golf remains an appropriate recreational activity. Additional measures may be put into place as we adapt to the “new normal” for the foreseeable future.

“We’re excited that this first step has been made to re-open golf,” said Jesse Menachem, Mass Golf’s Executive Director/CEO. “Our work isn’t done yet. We will continue to work with the Governor’s Administration to further clarify the orders and keep our members informed as the situation continues to evolve. We will base our decisions surrounding Mass Golf events on the safety and well-being of all of us.”

As a reminder, we are in score posting season and the USGA has addressed questions regarding Rules and Handicapping during the COVID-19 era.  Please click here for more information.

We understand that this year has been and will continue to be different than others. We’ll miss the celebratory high-fives and socializing in the clubhouse after your round concludes, but we will get back to that eventually. For now, let’s enjoy the game with honor and begin to show once again that Massachusetts has the most enthusiastic golf community in the country.

In order to ensure that upon reopening that all courses will operate in a safe and effective manner, we have provided the following guidance:

GOLF GUIDELINES FOR SAFE PLAY IN MASSACHUSETTS DURING COVID-19 ERA (as of 5/25/20)

Non-Essential Business FAQ Update from Mass.gov 

Golf courses are not essential businesses and cannot have employees working on-premise. and they are not included in the businesses opened in Phase I under the Governor’s May 18 Phased Re-opening Order.  Accordingly, as a general matter, golf courses cannot have employees working on-premise. Notwithstanding this restriction, security services, landscaping and groundscaping in order to avoid deterioration and hazardous conditions are all recognized as essential services and may be provided by employees, contractors, or vendors.

Private operator of courses may permit individuals access to the property so long as there are no gatherings of any kind, appropriate social distancing of six feet between individuals is strictly followed, and the business operator and golfers abide by the specific guidelines for golf courses.

Municipalities may decide to open municipal courses under these guidelines, if they so choose.

Restaurants located on the premises of golf courses may offer no-contact take-out of food to be consumed off premises, but like all other restaurants, they may not allow any form of dine-in or outdoor, on-premises service. Outside seating and tables should be removed from locations near to any take-out service.

Guidelines (updated May 25, 2020):

  • Security personnel can be delineated by each club (ex. a pro and the head starter) and will be present to enforce social distancing. Staffing must be limited to security and course maintenance/landscaping and the minimum workers necessary to service and clean carts.  No other services may be provided.
  • All staff must wear face coverings while on property.
  • Course facilities including but not limited to the clubhouse, golf shop, restaurant, bag room and locker room must remain closed.
  • No caddies allowed.
  • Golf carts may be used only if each cart is used by and contains only a single rider, or a group of family members living in the same house.  Any carts used must be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
  • Push carts may be used. Players must either carry their own bag or use a push cart.
  • All golfers must maintain proper social distancing of at least 6 feet at all times.
  • Groups of players are restricted to no more than 4 players at one time.
  • Members-only clubs can allow guests as determined by the security personnel on the golf course.
  • Private clubs that allow non-members to make reservations can do so at their discretion.
  • Maintenance personnel are permitted to work on the golf course.
  • Tee Time Policy must be 15 minutes between groups.
  • Golfers must stay in their car until 15 minutes before their tee time and must return to their car immediately following play.
  • Online and remote payment options must be utilized.
  • All golfers must use their own golf clubs. Sharing golf clubs or rental golf clubs is not allowed.
  • Flagsticks must remain in the hole. Hole liners must be raised so picking a ball out of the hole doesn’t occur.
  • Bunker rakes must be removed, and ball washers must be removed or covered.
  • Practice putting green, driving range, and chipping areas must be closed.
  • Facilities must have readily accessible hand sanitizer.

 

STATEMENT FROM THE ALLIANCE OF MASSACHUSETTS GOLF ORGANIZATIONS

“The Alliance of Massachusetts Golf Organizations (AMGO) would like to thank the Re-Opening Advisory Board for their hard work and diligence during this process to resume play in Massachusetts. AMGO is continuing to work with the Governor’s Administration to identify and develop additional solutions to emerging issues in the golf industry and to keep them informed on the needs of our community. We understand that many golfers require cart usage for medical reasons or disabilities, which was originally part of our request to the Re-Opening Advisory Board on May 2. We have and will continue to request such adjustments to the guidelines as appropriate to keep everyone safe and to ensure the whole community is able to enjoy the necessary physical and mental exercise that we all need during this time.”

 

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.

For more news about Mass Golf, visit massgolf.org or follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.