Mass. golf courses get green light to reopen with many safety restrictions in place

BOSTON (WHDH) - Massachusetts announced Thursday that public and private golf courses can reopen immediately with many safety restrictions and social distancing rules in place to guard against the spread of coronavirus.

Golfers can start teeing it up again at courses across the state starting May 7, according to new guidelines established by Gov. Baker’s administration.

Massachusetts was one of only two states in the country still enforcing a statewide ban on golf. New Hampshire plans to open their courses on Monday.

“We basically took a model that was being used in several of the states that were around us that we felt was consistent with what our concerns were in the first place,” Baker said of his decision to approve the reopening of courses.

Under the new guidelines, security personnel must strictly enforce social distancing rules, no golf carts will be allowed, groups will be limited to four golfers, rounds must be paid for online, hand sanitizer must be easily accessible, and flagsticks must remain in the holes, among many other rules that will be in place until further notice.

Course employees will not be allowed to work because golf has not been deemed an essential business,  according to the Baker administration.

Groundskeeping to avoid hazardous conditions and security provided by course pros, head starters, contractors, or vendors are permitted.

Private course operators may permit individuals access to the property as long as there are no gatherings of any kind.

The full list of guidelines for courses and golfers are as follows:

  • Security personnel can be delineated by each club (ex. A pro and the head starter) and will be present to enforce social distancing. There can be no other employees working at the recreational component of the golf operation.
  • 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 allowed.
  • No golf carts 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 6 feet at all times.
  • Groups of players are restricted to no more than 4 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.
  • Maintenance personnel are permitted to work on the golf course.
  • 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.
  • Practice putting green, driving range, and chipping areas must be closed.
  • Facilities must have readily accessible hand sanitizer.

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