The sport of golf has become a provocative topic during these times, apparently because it is the perfect sport that observes proper social distancing guidelines. In addition, a golf course is also a sports facility – just like a baseball field or a tennis court. Indeed, COVID-19 has affected almost 1.5 million people around the world, as reported by John Hopkins University. In the United States, there are over 430 coronavirus cases and almost 15,000 deaths.
As states in America have gradually debated on the non-essential issue during the pandemic, golf courses have fallen into the confusing category as either being potentially hazardous places or a safe recreational space for people to play in. The outcome is a hustle between golf enthusiasts looking to do some healthy physical activity during this outbreak. Some political leaders have decided to have the golf courses in their cities closed until further notice. Consequently, over 50% of America’s golf facilities have been ordered closed because of the recent pandemic or weather conditions. Facilities that have remained open, on the other hand, claim that it has been tough.
Golfers And The PandemicSo really, do general stay-at-home guidelines apply to avid golfers? Just as there are plenty of things, people, and places during the pandemic, the rules somehow depend on where you are at right now. The outcome is a mixture of guidelines that have pushed golfers to cross boundaries just to sneak a couple of holes. Right now, there are 32 states that allow the playing of golf in the middle of this outbreak, while about one-third of the states consider golf as a non-essential.
Confusing quarantine and shelter-in-place orders have left a lot of golf players doubtful whether or not their favorite courses would welcome them this year. Many government leaders have not specified which recreational activities they considered essential, which has made the whole thing more uncertain. The governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, elucidated that he gave a no for the opening of the Evergreen State. In New York as well, Governor Andre Cuomo modified the city’s list of essential services to add only parks and other open spaces on it, but not golf courses. The governors from Nevada and Texas have also done the same.
However, there are other states where their leaders’ decisions changed. An article describes how Ned Lamont, Connecticut Governor, first considered golfing as a non-essential but just a few days after changed his decision after the city’s golf association sent an email pleading him to reconsider. Now, the Nutmeg state golfing activities are open and welcome.
Similarly, the officials in Ohio previously stated that golf was not allowed, as it was a non-essential. Days after, the health department at that turned its decision and allowed golf courses to open as long as golfers follow strict social distancing requirements and to comply with the one-person-per-cart rule.
Despite the turnarounds of some officials, Wisconsin was not one of those cities. The officials were firm in their decision to keep the golf courses in their areas closed for public health and safety. Governor Evers denied the ‘Let Wisconsin Golf’ petition even if the signatures of the petition reached 65,000. And in Florida, one of the cities that are home to the most number of seniors, Governor Ron Desantis agreed to open their golf courses with exceptions to some counties, such as Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade.
In summary, the major areas where golf is permitted to operate include Missouri, Alabama, Colorado, Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Nebraska, Virginia, Utah, and Wyoming. States, where the game is not currently permitted, are California, Maine, Michigan, Illinois, Nevada, Maryland, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Wisconsin, and Washington.