COVID-19 Daily News

Massachusetts Golf Courses Reopen, with Conditions

BOSTON — Saying he wanted to bring Massachusetts in line with what surrounding states were doing, Gov. Charlie Baker allowed golf courses to reopen on May 7, albeit under strict conditions.

“Golf courses are not essential businesses and cannot have employees working on-premise,” the new state guidelines note. “Notwithstanding this restriction, essential services, such as groundskeeping to avoid hazardous conditions and security, provided by employees, contractors, or vendors, are permitted. Private operators 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.”

Among the other regulations currently in place:

• 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 or golf carts are allowed. 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 six feet at all times, And groups of players are restricted to no more than four 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.

• The 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. The practice putting green, driving range, and chipping areas must stay closed as well.

• Facilities must have readily accessible hand sanitizer.

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