On orders from Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania golf courses are allowed to reopen today.
Wednesday, we shared the video from Miami, where one club added a foam ring around the bottom of the pin in order to prevent the ball from going in the hole, which would keep people from pulling up the flag and spreading germs. Some courses are requiring masks and some are not, while most seem to be working off the guidelines presented by the Pennsylvania Alliance for Golf.
- all rakes should be removed from bunkers
- don’t provide tees, scorecards, or other common use items
- no caddies or third-person bag handling
- staff sanitizes carts and wears masks and gloves
- ball washers and water coolers should be removed
- foam inserts or raised flag barriers
- space out tee times about 15 minutes apart (I believe most courses typically go eight minutes between tee times)
- pro shops remain closed or limited access only
- clubhouse restaurant takeout service only, no sit down eating or drinking
Talking to a handful of people with tee times this weekend, or who received emails from various clubs, it seems like most courses are matching these guidelines and only deviating slightly. Some are requiring masks and some are only asking golfers to wear those in the parking lot or clubhouse area, then they’re allowed to take the masks off while on the course.
Here’s a sample of a press release or correspondence that golf courses are sending out to customers and media members. This one is for Mount Airy, up in the Poconos:
Mount Pocono, Pa. (April 29, 2020) – Mount Airy Casino Resort, Pennsylvania’s first AAA Four-Diamond casino property, today announced it will re-open its popular Golf Club to guests on Saturday, May 2. Due to COVID-19 protocols, various social distancing policies will still be in effect, including a limit of one (1) person per golf cart, revised tee-times as well as the sanitization of golf carts between rounds. The remainder of Mount Airy Casino Resort will remain closed until further notice.
The Pro Shop will be open from 7:30 am- 3:30 pm daily. Pro Shop access is restricted to one (1) guest at a time and guests must wear a mask while inside. Though the club house will remain closed, limited access will be granted for restroom use. Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized daily. Showers and locker rooms remain closed. Limited food and beverage options will be available for take-out from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Specific social distancing rules include:
- One (1) guest per cart
- Carts will be sanitized between each round
- Guests must bring their own clubs – rental clubs will not be available
- Guests cannot touch rakes in sand traps or pins at each hole
- No putting out -guests may putt within six (6) feet) and then pick up their ball
- Tee Times will be at 15-minute intervals. Revised tee time schedule available at https://mountairycasino.com/golf/book-a-tee-time/
- No spectators will be allowed
My dad plays up in the Montco area and said that his local club is also enforcing this cart rule, with one person riding and one person walking. Seems like different courses will take a different approach to putting out, with some adding the foam pieces and others going with the bullet point rule you see in the above press release. There’s a little bit of leeway for courses to handle the flag and mask situation, specifically.
If you’re looking for further guidelines, or a list of places that are reopening, Philagolf.com is running a status page. And if you’re on the course and see something interesting or unique, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s another example of guidelines, these from Laurel Creek over in New Jersey:
A note on masks and carts from Rivercrest, up in Phoenixville –
As more clarification has come out of Harrisburg, below are two changes to the safety guidelines we sent out yesterday.
Masks are not required to be worn while on the golf course. However, below are our Club guidelines that we expect everyone to strictly follow. Masks must be worn at these times:
– From your car until you reach #1 fairway
– Approaching the halfway house
– From the 18th green until you get back in your car
Members who live in the same household are permitted to share carts.
Let’s all do our part to ensure safety and enjoyment this weekend by following these guidelines.