Coronavirus in The US: What Does It Mean For Golf Courses Nationwide?

With nearly 5,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the USA and schools, government subsidies and sports leagues shut down nationwide the availability of access to golf might surprise some people.

With the Novel Coronavirus taking the world by storm, The United States included, many are left wondering what the current status of golf is. With nearly 5,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the USA and with schools, government subsidies, sports leagues and more shutting down nationwide the of access to golf courses might surprise some people.

Coronavirus in America: What are the options for playing a round of golf?

With nearly 5,000 confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus in the United States across 49 of the 50 states and nation-wide closures of bars, restaurants, government buildings, parks and more, the majority of people would safely assume that there is no chance to get out for a round of golf. The answer is surprisingly quite the contrary, as the majority of golf courses in the United States remain open for public play despite the rapidly spreading Coronavirus. Adding to the surprising level of public golf courses remaining open is the recent suspension of PGA events for the foreseeable future including arguably the most popular of the year, The 2020 Masters Tournament. It is a logical question to ask oneself if the most popular professional golf event in the world has been canceled, why on earth would courses remain open for amateur golfers? The answer more than likely lies within the fact that professional golf events hosts thousands upon thousands of spectators whereas a personal round of golf is limited to extremely small group sizes. Perhaps the answer lies within the game of golf itself given that it is played outdoors on a massively scaled area of play with groups typically being a maximum of four players.

United States Forbidding Large Gatherings

            The common theme in the United States currently is forbidding gatherings of more than 50 people, especially in indoor close contact settings such as bars and restaurants, quite the opposite of a large outdoor area where only four people will come into contact with each other. It is important to note however that despite the majority of courses remaining open, government officials are still urging individuals to withhold from playing golf despite the lower risk. A main controversial topic surrounding the current status of golf courses across the country is the average age of the player. By now it has become common knowledge that the Coronavirus is much more of a danger to older individuals than younger individuals and as most people in the golf industry know, the age of the average golfer is typically on the older side.

Golf Courses: Non-Essential Businesses

            Golf courses fall under what the United States are calling “non-essential” businesses, simply meaning that they are not necessary for everyday life unlike hospitals, supermarkets, post offices and more. Having said that, the majority of states are only “calling” for the closure of golf courses rather than strictly enforcing it, essentially meaning that it is the recommendation of the government to close but it is ultimately up to the individual course to make the final decision. Municipal golf courses in states such as Pennsylvania and California remain open with many courses implementing special installments to slow the spread of the virus. For example, golfers are allowed to play the 12 municipal golf courses throughout Los Angeles with the ability to ride solo in carts without an additional fee. Additionally, workers have installed barriers up to six-feet in order to minimize contact among players.

While the health and safety of citizens is paramount to playing a round of golf, some individuals who can’t help but want to play a round of golf are not so lucky in states such as Michigan. The governor of Michigan has since signed an executive order placing restrictions on “places of public accommodation” that applies to golf courses and country clubs alike.

Most Notable Club Closures

            Perhaps the most notable closing of all golf clubs in the United States is the closing of Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia in which chairman Fred Ridley sent a notice to members yesterday announcing the closure of the club. The average golfer must take this news with a grain of salt however since most know the extreme difficulty of getting the opportunity to play the most elusive club in the world. On the other side of the situation, the TPC network of golf clubs across the country, including TPC Sawgrass, will remain open and continue normal operations.

Please remember when making the decision to play golf or not that the health and safety of yourself and your family are much more important than playing golf. The golf courses will not go anywhere anytime soon and it is not worth it to put yourself and others at risk. Please follow the advisories of your local and state governments in regards to the best practices.

Continued Coronavirus Updates

Live updates regarding the Coronavirus worldwide can be found via the World Health Organization updates page here. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Cologne, Germany

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