Golf and COVID-19: Latest news on course operations

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Matt Fitzpatrick of England and his brother Alex Fitzpatrick during a practice round at Hallamshire Golf Club on May 19, 2020 in Sheffield, England. The British government has started easing the lockdown it imposed two months ago to curb the spread of Covid-19, abandoning its 'stay at home' slogan in favour of a message to 'be alert', but UK countries have varied in their approaches to relaxing quarantine measures. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

UPDATE May 26, 1:20pm ET: This Memorial Day weekend, nearly 90% of public golf courses were open, according to GolfNow data, which reported 10.8% of their partner facilities closed due to COVID-19.

Recent CDC guideline revisions have indicated that coronavirus does not spread easily on surfaces, which may lead golf course staff to reassess their current social distancing measures, in particular rakes and flagsticks.

Clubhouses and pro shops are still closed in most parts of the country and that could have an effect on merchandise and equipment sales at golf courses in a peak spring buying period. In the latest Golfer Sentiment Weekly Tracker by NBC Sports, 50% of avid golfers would currently consider shopping for golf equipment online, but that drops to 33% at an off-course store and 26% at a green-grass shop.

On a state regulation front, Massachusetts golf courses are now permitted to rent out golf carts (must be single-rider unless both golfers are from same household). Their northeast neighbor Delaware also just announced non-residents will be permitted to play golf in the state beginning June 1.

We're tracking course-by-course openings in each state here. Find and view a course near you to see its status.

Latest golf-related coronavirus news

NOLA's Audubon Park golf course closed indefinitely, future uncertain
City of Chicago golf courses remain closed
Shackelford: We're out of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and push carts
USGA: with maintenance budgets reduced, 5 ways golfers can help take care of the course
WaPo: Coronavirus makes golf courses an oasis for stir-crazy Americans
WATCH: The GolfNow Industry Report by GolfNow for May 19th reports incredible strong booking figures coast-to-coast in the U.S.

Is your golf course open? We are compiling the latest news on city, county and statewide shelter-in-place declarations and social distancing measures and how it relates to golf operations. The following Google spreadsheet has our latest news of city, county and statewide golf course suspensions or reopenings.

How to play golf safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

Many medical experts believe that golf is one of the safest activities you can participate in during the current outbreak as long as you take proper precautions. These include social distancing with the other golfers at the course and in your group, not sharing a golf cart unless it is with an immediate family member you live with, not shaking hands after the round and not socializing in the clubhouse afterwards. US governing bodies revealed new "Back 2 Golf" guidelines on May 5th that share best practices for golf course operators and players. See their recommendations here.

Golf Course Operators

Is Topgolf open?

Topgolf closed all of its locations in the U.S. and U.K. on March 18th. Oklahoma City location is reopen, and a wave of locations are scheduled to open on May 18, including Orlando, Atlanta, Phoenix and Jacksonville. To view by location, click here.

Pro golf tour schedule updates (April 16)

Competition has been suspended on the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and European Tour

• The PGA Tour has released a proposed and amended 2020 schedule that would return at the Charles Schwab Challenge on June 11 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Click here for the latest details.
• The European Tour has canceled all events through June and is eyeing a July restart.
• The LPGA has announced its intentions to resume the schedule in mid-July.

Headlines archive

• (5/21) Strong demand for northern Iowa golf courses this spring

• (5/20) Golf courses are thriving in social distancing: CantonRep

• (5/18) District of Columbia's three golf courses remain closed

• (5/17) Golf Business Magazine UK: Some golf courses in Wales are already reopen

• (5/16) Live golf with a different look returns to Seminole

• (5/15) Canada's golf courses aiming for touchless experience as they reopen

• (5/14) Shackelford podcast with NGF chief on COVID-19 response

• (5/10) Ireland's 5-phase plan to reopen golf

• (5/9) NPR: Yelling 'Fore', but two at a time

• (5/9) Clubs in Europe reopening but grappling with new rules

• (5/8) Michigan golf courses are now allowed to use carts

• (5/7) City of Dayton closing to golf facilities permanently

• (5/3) Daily Mail: UK courses hope to reopen by May 15

• (5/2) Alberta courses permitted to reopen May 2

• (5/1) High demand in Washington as courses finally set to open

• ( 5/1) Morning Read: Golf scrambles to adjust to new world order

• (4/30) Golf returns to Philly on spectacular weekend

• (4/29) New Mexico golf courses can reopen using social distancing guidelines

• (4/29) California Bay Area courses may reopen Monday

• (4/28) Bay Area counties relax social distancing guidelines, opening door for golf return

• (4/27) Alberta golf courses hoping to reopen soon

• (4/26) NYTimes: Guerilla golfers are sneaking onto closed golf courses for their fix

• (4/25) North Idaho golf courses told to limit play to state residents

• (4/24) Shut-out Pennsylvania golfers find fairways in Ohio, West Virginia

(4/23) Travel Weekly: Golf resorts optimistic for quick return

(4/22) Morning Read: With creativity, Golf Courses could thrive after Coronavirus

(4/22) Walking makes a comeback, pushcart sales soar

(4/21) Ventura County, California, lightens restrictions and permits golf

(4/20) The Golf industry must re-imagine old practices for it to recover, writes Mike Dougherty

(4/18) Golfers hopeful their state will reopen golf courses soon, following other states

(4/17) Star-Tribune: Sold-out tee times and happy golfers in Twin Cities

(4/15) Pellucid Perspective on state of the golf industry, April 2020

(4/14) Latest NGF insights on COVID-19 impact to golf industry revealed

(4/15) Pellucid Perspective on state of the golf industry, April 2020

(4/14) Who qualifies and how to apply for the Golf Emergency Relief Fund

(4/13) Toledo mayor reopens city courses but only to Ohioans

(4/12) USGA unveils fund to aid state golf associations

(4/11) Beaumont Country Club opens doors to public as a general park

(4/10) As Arizona courses thrive, investors give golf properties a closer look

(4/9) Bloomberg: Many courses are open despite social distancing mandates

(4/7) Forbes: Whether golfers can play depends on mandate language

(4/6) Despite state mandate permitting golf, Florida destinations vary greatly on course openings

(4/6) Texas Governor closes courses but opens door for walking

(4/5) Citing bad behavior, Nevada governor closes golf courses in new order

(4/4) Dr John Torres: NBC News Correspondent on pro golf return this summer

(4/3) 40 Republican lawmakers call on Wisconsin Governor to reopen golf courses

(4/3) San Antonio bans playing golf on public & private courses with new order
(4/3) Iowa golf courses open to state residents only

(4/3) Maine Governor orders golf courses closed until May 1

(4/2) Dunn County allowing golf members to play despite Wisconsin state mandate

(4/1) Are Colorado golf courses allowed to open? No statewide answer in stay-at-home mandate

(4/1) Honolulu mayor orders privately-owned golf courses to close as well

(3/30) Ohio reverses previous ruling shutting down golf courses

(3/30) USGA: What happens if you don't maintain a golf course?

(3/28) Pinehurst auction announced to support employees

(3/25) Orange County, Florida institutes Stay-at-Home order. Golf Courses exempt

(3/25) Office of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers confirms golf courses are included in non-essential
mandate and must close until April 24

(3/24) Bandon Dunes announced on March 24 they will close until April 6 6

(3/25) Connecticut State Golf Association (CSGA) confirms courses may remain open with restrictions

(3/23) In South Florida, Miami-Dade and Broward counties have suspended operations at their golf courses

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