Roughly half of America’s golf courses are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The golf industry, which generates dozens of billions of dollars in annual economic impact, would normally be wide awake by this time in the year. Instead, it's swinging blindfolded and one-armed. Thousands of facilities are silent. The ones that are welcoming golfers are keeping them at literal arms’ length, and in any case clubhouse food and beverage staff are at home, either on leave, furloughed or laid off entirely. Golf’s second-level businesses, which rely on courses being open in order to function, are hurting badly as well.
Kudos, then, to two of golf’s biggest institutions for trying to bridge the gap for the scores of thousands of golf industry employees hurting right now. Two weeks ago, the USGA announced they’d established a $5 million fund for their 59 Allied Golf Associations (e.g., states and larger metros), who administer the bulk of state- and regional-level amateur golf tournaments, plus qualifying for USGA championships and other services. All of these organizations have had to rearrange their schedules amid the pandemic, and the USGA is making up to $100,000 in payroll and other assistance available to each of them.
The USGA has launched an emergency relief fund for its 59 Allied Golf Association (AGA) members, with an investment of up to $5 million.— USGA (@USGA) April 10, 2020
Last week, the PGA of America followed suit, setting up the Golf Emergency Relief Fund and seeding it with $5 million of its own, with a promise to match up to $2.5 million in gifts from other organizations and individuals. Voluntary pay-cuts from PGA of America executives formed the basis for the initial funds.The first round of applications closed earlier this week, but the fund is still looking for donations in order to get a second round of assistance packages out to industry professionals in need. To learn more and donate, click here.