GOLF GUIDELINES AND INFORMATION - MASSGOLF

resources for GOLF COURSES/FACILITIES and individual golfers

The following guidance has been established by the Governor’s Administration so that golf could safely resume in Massachusetts on May 7, 2020. The information below serves as the strict baseline for play to resume and further restriction may be considered and implemented by courses as they see fit. During extraordinary times, such as the current global pandemic, we all will be guided in decision making with the information provided by public health and government authorities.

*This page will be updated frequently as we move through the phased approach towards golf being played with minimal restrictions in the future.

(Last Updated March 2, 2021)

 

AMGO CREATES SUMMARY OF FREQUENTLY ASKED GUIDELINE QUESTIONS

(Last Updated: March 1, 2021

The information in the link below was sourced from the Mass.gov website and presented in summary form by the Alliance of Massachusetts Golf Organizations (AMGO). The Governor’s Administration is responsible for the creation and the updating of all guidelines and regulations. Please note that these guidelines and regulations can and will change. This document will be updated accordingly.

Summary FAQ

 


STATE moves to PHASE THREE, STEP two on march 1; phase four begins march 22

(Updated on the Mass.gov website 2/25/21; Effective on 3/1/21)

The Governor’s Administration Announced announced that Massachusetts would advance to Step 2 of Phase III of the state’s reopening plan on Monday, March 1, and also announced its plan to transition to Step 1 of Phase IV on Monday, March 22. To view the press release on the Mass.gov website, CLICK HERE

“With public health metrics continuing to trend in a positive direction, including drops in average daily COVID cases and hospitalizations, and vaccination rates continuing to increase, the Administration is taking steps to continue to reopen the Commonwealth’s economy.”

*Below are the areas in which the Massachusetts golf community will need to make adjustments to comply with state guidelines and restrictions.

Phase Three, Step 2

Beginning March 1, all communities will move back to Phase III, Step 2 of Massachusetts’ re-opening plan, including the following restrictions:

  • Indoor theaters and performance venues and higher contact indoor recreation businesses will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity with no more than 500 persons
  • Restaurants will no longer have a percent capacity limit and will be permitted to host musical performances; six-foot social distancing, limits of six people per table and 90-minute limits remain in place

NOTE: Indoor simulators/ranges are allowed to remain open but must comply with the golf facility capacity guidelines of 50%.

Increased Capacity at Golf Facilities
In all communities, capacity will be raised from 40% to 50% for golf facilities.
NOTE: This capacity adjustment is for the indoor areas of a golf facility and not for the outdoor areas of a golf facility.

Phase Four, Step 1

Beginning March 22, provided public health metrics continue to improve, all communities in Massachusetts will move into Step 1 of Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan, with the following restrictions:

  • Outdoor gatherings at event venues will be limited to no more than 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors
  • Dance floors will be permitted at weddings and other events only
  • Overnight summer camps will be allowed to operate this coming summer.

STATEWIDE ROLLBACK TO PHASE THREE, STEP ONE

(Updated on the Mass.gov website 12/8/20; Effective on 12/13/20)

The Governor’s Administration Announced New Restrictions Statewide for Capacity, Mask Compliance and Distancing Due to Increased Cases, Hospitalizations. To view the press release on the Mass.gov website, CLICK HERE

“These new measures are designed to prevent infection and viral spread, especially in indoor settings. They will create stronger mask compliance, more social distancing, and limits to the time spent with people outside of your immediate household.”

*Below are the areas in which the Massachusetts golf community will need to make adjustments to comply with state guidlines and restrictions.

Phase III, Step 1

Effective December 13, all communities will roll back to Phase 3, Step 1 of Massachusetts’ re-opening plan, including the following restrictions:

  • Outdoor gatherings at event venues will be limited to no more than 50 people
  • Hosts of outdoor gatherings of greater than 25 people will be required to provide advance notice of the gathering their local board of health
  • Indoor theaters and performance venues and higher contact indoor recreation businesses will be required to close to the public
  • Outdoor theaters and performance venues will be limited to 25% capacity, and no more than 50 people

NOTE: Indoor simulators/ranges are allowed to remain open but must comply with the golf facility capacity guidelines of 40%.

Reduced Capacity at Golf Facilities
“In all communities, capacity will be reduced from 50% to 40% for golf facilities.”
NOTE: This capacity adjustment is for the indoor areas of a golf facility and not for the outdoor areas of a golf facility.
Offices and Gyms
The Administration announced new guidelines for workplaces and gyms, including:
  • In offices, employees must wear masks at their place of work when not in their own workspace and alone
  • Employers are encouraged to close or limit the use of break rooms
  • Patrons must wear masks at all times in gyms
  • The Administration continues to encourage all employers to offer teleworking to their employees when possible

Restaurants and Venues

The Administration announced new guidelines for restaurants and other venues with seated dining including:

  • Patrons must wear masks at all times except when eating and drinking
  • Restaurants must seat no more than six patrons per table
  • Restaurants must impose a 90-minute time limit on tables
  • Musical performances at restaurants will no longer be permitted
  • Food court seating must be closed in malls
  • Customers are encouraged to dine only with members of the same household.

UPDATED STATEWIDE FACE-COVERING MANDATE

(Updated on the Mass.gov website 11/5/20; Effective on 11/6/20)

The Governor’s Administration updated the state’s golf facility guidelines on the Mass.gov website at 8:00 PM ET on Thursday, November 5. It has been confirmed that face-coverings are required by anyone at the facility, even while playing.

Face Coverings Required While Practicing and Playing

“Require face coverings for all customers and workers, except where an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability.”

FULL DETAILS ON UPDATED FACE-COVERING MANDATE (MASS.GOV)

Early Closure Guidance

“In accordance with the COVID-19 Order No. 53, Requiring Early Closing for Certain Businesses and Activities Golf Facilities must close to the public by 9:30 pm and may not re-open to the public before 5:00 am the following day (“mandatory closing period”). During this daily mandatory closing period, Golf Facilities must not admit any customers, patrons, or members of the public. Golf Facilities may permit employees to stay on premises during the mandatory closing period.”

GOVERNOR’S ADMINISTRATION PRESS RELEASE FROM NOVEMBER 2


Highlights of updated Phase III Guidance:

  • Guidance that has been removed. Effective 10/5/20
    • REMOVED: Notify golfers that flag sticks must remain in the hole. Hole liners must be raised or otherwise adjusted so that players do not reach into the hole to retrieve a ball
      • It is at the discretion of the golf facility whether or not they would like to use hole liners.
      • It is at the discretion of the golf facility whether or not they will allow flag sticks to be removed.
      • NOTE: Please ask the golf facility prior to your round whether or not you can remove the flag stick from the hole.
    • REMOVED: Golf carts to be used only if each cart is used by and contains only a single rider or a group of golfers living in the same house.
      • It is at the discretion of the golf facility whether or not they would like to allow use of double rider golf carts by individuals not living in the same household.
      • NOTE: Please ask the golf facility prior to your round whether or not they are allowing double rider golf carts to be used by individuals not living in the same household.
  • Continued Guidance
    • Ensure a sufficient gap between group tee times to allow for social distancing; no minimum
    • Caddies and bag handlers are allowed, provided social distancing is maintained, cloth face coverings and gloves are worn, and hand sanitizer is used. Encourage caddies and bag handles to wipe down clubs and other equipment after each use
    • Encourage golfers to walk or use a push cart. Golf carts and push carts must be cleaned and sanitized after each use
    • Tournaments and other events (such as “shotgun style” events) must follow EEA guidance for tournaments, available on the EEA Reopening Site (click here for PDF)
    • All shared and rental equipment, such as clubs, must be cleaned and disinfected after each use
    • Use single-use scorecards and pencils
    • Require customers to reserve tee times in advance
    • Use of driving range, putting green and other practice facilities must follow social distancing protocols and must require use of masks or face coverings
  • Other Guidance
    • Restaurants: Must follow the latest restaurant guidance
    • Bars: Must remain closed until Phase 4
    • Gyms/Locker rooms: Must follow the latest health club and fitness center guidance
    • Pro shops: Must follow the latest retail guidance

 

Guidance for Businesses and Other Entities Providing Outdoor Adult Sports, Supervised Youth Sports Leagues and Summer Sports Camps on Mass.gov: FULL GUIDANCE


fAQ GUIDANCE FROM MASS.GOV WEBSITE

Golf courses are not essential businesses and cannot have employees working on-premise. Notwithstanding this restriction, essential services, such as groundskeeping to avoid hazardous conditions and security, provided by employees, contractors, or vendors are permitted. 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.

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.

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

For more information please CLICK HERE to visit the Mass.gov website.

 

GUIDANCE for RULES OF GOLF AND HANDICAPPING

The USGA has provided detailed guidance for golfers and golf courses in relation to the Rules of Handicapping and Rules of Golf during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is important to note that during this time, the USGA is temporarily allowing scores to be posted while golf courses make modifications that would not normally comply with Rules of Golf or Rules of Handicapping.

Golfers should post their score immediately following their round either on the GHIN Mobile App on their personal device or on GHIN.com using their personal computer at home.  No scores should be posted using a Score Posting Kiosk at a course.  If you are in need of your GHIN number, please email Mike Wice (mwice@massgolf.org) or reach out to your home club.


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