Golf Facility Reopening Guidance

The safety and wellbeing of everyone involved, staff and players, should be the priority in everyone’s operation.

As your members and customers are excited about returning to play we need to stress to them the importance of following the guidelines put in place so that facilities can remain open for them to enjoy. We want to demonstrate to our public officials their confidence in us to maintain a safe and healthy environment is well placed.

We hope that our PGA Members and Associates consider all of the applicable guidelines provided below and wish all of you and your and staff safety, good health and good luck as you reopen your facilities. As always, if the Philadelphia PGA Section can offer any guidance, please do not hestitate to contact Executive Director Geoff Surrette, PGA, at gsurrette@pgahq.com or Communications Director Matt Frey, PGA, at mfrey@pgahq.com.

Back2Golf

As states and communities across the country begin to re-open their economies, we are excited to share with you, Back2Golf, which was put together in collaboration with our Allied Golf Organizations. This plan has been reviewed and is in alignment with the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Back2Golf is a comprehensive plan that allows golf to reopen where closed and remain open responsibly while observing recommended social distancing guidelines.

This plan, which includes “Back2Golf Guidelines” and a corresponding “Back2Golf Operations Playbook” is based on the operational underpinnings in “Guidelines Opening Up America Again” published by the White House and the CDC. It includes a specific, three-phased approach to golf that aligns with their social distancing guidelines for the broader economy. Each phase includes medically endorsed operational protocols when it comes to social distancing, the sanitation of physical facilities and the health of you and your staff which are specifically outlined in the “Operations Playbook”.

We will continue to work closely with our Allied Golf Organizations and the CDC to update the “Operations Playbook” when appropriate to provide you with the most up-to-date and relevant information. Please look for these updates each week in our “Five Things To Know” email.

To learn more regarding each phase, please read through the “Back2Golf Guidelines” document here and the “Back2Golf Operations Playbook” also hosted on PGA.org here.

To view and print Back2Golf posters, click the following links:

Guidelines to a Safe Reopening of Golf in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Golf embraces the opportunities for the successful reopening of golf, and maintaining a safe environment for all staff and golfers to maintain our open status during this pandemic. Even in these unprecedented times, with the COVID-19 threat affecting all aspects of life as we know it, golf is available as an outlet for people to exercise and provides one of the few respites from the confines of home. With vast areas of open space containing green grass, ponds and trees, a golf course can provide the ability for social distancing.

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Golf is committed to doing all it can to support our constituents by being a resource of information and a clearinghouse of best practices that will provide guidance to any and all facilities, operators, golf professionals, club officials and stewards of the game. As golfers and industry operators, let’s all do our part to keep the game and our loved ones safe.

To view and/or download a printable and sharable PDF of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Golf’s Guidelines to a Safe Reopening of Golf, click here or the button located at the bottom of this email.

Staffing

  • It is strongly recommended that all fees, including green, guest and cart fees be paid on line or via touchless payments prior to arrival.
  • Staff to assist in bag handling anywhere on the property are prohibited. Players should retain personal possession of their golf bags which should not be stored in a baggage storage facility.
  • Caddies should be prohibited.
  • Staff will be permitted to provide, sanitize and maintain motorized carts and/or pull carts. Golf carts may be utilized but must be single riders, except for those who share a residence.
  • Staff will be allowed to ensure access to the property by authorized golfers only. No observers or non-golfers should be allowed on the course.
  • Staff will be allowed to ensure enforcement of the health and safety restrictions outlined by the Governor. Special attention should be paid to prohibiting grouping in the parking lot and the first tee.
  • Staff to maintain and sanitize on-course restrooms can be provided.
  • Staff should wear protective gloves and face masks.
  • Staff levels should be kept at a minimum appropriate to facility activity.

Common Use Items / Equipment

  • All rakes should be removed from the bunkers. Players should smooth the sand after use using their shoes or a club.
  • No tees, scorecards, ball markers or other common use items should be provided.
  • Ball washers and water coolers should be removed. If they cannot be removed, clear signage forbidding their use should be provided.
  • Flagsticks should not be removed while putting unless a “touchless” device has been installed. Raised cup liners or foam inserts should be used while leaving the flagstick in place

Tee Times

  • Tee times should be spaced, preferably no closer than fifteen minutes apart, to minimize chance of congregating on the first tee.

Social Distancing

  • Social distancing should be strictly maintained at all times and places on the course.
  • Handshakes should be eliminated.
  • No golf balls or equipment should be shared or exchanged. Rental equipment is prohibited.
  • Signage outlining these playing restrictions should be prominently posted

Clubhouse / Golf Shop

  • Pro shops should remain closed to in-person retail sales.
  • All clubhouse/restaurants should remain closed, take out services permitted in strict accordance health and safety restrictions outlined by the Governor.
  • Clubhouses should be closed, limited restroom access may be made available.

To view and/or download a printable and sharable PDF of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Golf’s Guidelines to a Safe Reopening of Golf, click here or the below button.

Download Guidelines

About the Pennsylvania Alliance for Golf: The Pennsylvania Alliance for Golf was formed to create a unified voice for the future of golf in Pennsylvania. Supporting Pennsylvania golf organizations include; Central Pennsylvania Chapter of Club Managers Association, Golf Association of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Golf Association, Pennsylvania Golf Course Owners Association, Pennsylvania Golf Course Superintendents Association (all seven Pa. Chapters), Philadelphia & Vicinity Club Management Association & Philadelphia Club Foundation, Philadelphia PGA Section, Pittsburgh Chapter of the Club Management Association of America, Tri-State Section PGA, Western New York PGA Section, Western Pennsylvania Golf Association.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Issues New Guidance for Golf Courses

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, consistent with the governor’s April 27 announcement to reopen golf courses, has issued the below guidance for those restaurant, retail dispenser, club and catering club licenses that are located on golf courses.

Please review the PLCB’s guidance carefully as we believe it affects most, if not all, golf facilities in the state of Pennsylvania. To read the full press release, click here.

Restaurant Licensees and Wine Expanded Permit Holders:

  • Restaurant liquor license holders may sell beer, wine and liquor for consumption on the golf course regardless of whether all, some or none of the course is licensed. This is true regardless of whether the license in question is a restaurant liquor license that is subject to the county quota (an “R” license) or the license in question is a restaurant license that was issued outside the quota under an exception provided to those applicants that operate a golf course (a “PGR” or “GR” license).
  • Restaurant liquor license holders may sell beer for off premises consumption in the same manner that they did prior to March 18th, i.e., in sales of not more than 192 ounces at a time.
  • Holders of wine expanded permits (WEPs) may sell wine for off premises consumption in the same manner that they did prior to March 18th, i.e., in sales of not more than 3 liters at a time.
  • Sales of food and alcohol for consumption within the restaurant facilities (or any seating areas immediately adjacent to the facilities, such as patios), including any permanent secondary facilities, remain prohibited.

Eating Place Retail Dispenser Licensees:

  • Eating Place Retail Dispenser license holders may sell beer for consumption on the golf course regardless of whether all, some or none of the course is licensed. This is true regardless of whether the license in question is an Eating Place Retail Dispenser license that is subject to the county quota (an “E” license) or the license in question is an Eating Place Retail Dispenser license that was issued outside the quota under an exception provided to those applicants that operate a golf course (a “PGE” or “GE” license).
  • Eating Place Retail Dispenser license holders may sell beer for off premises consumption in the same manner that they did prior to March 18th, i.e., in sales of not more than 192 ounces at a time.
  • Sales of food and beer for consumption within the eating facilities (or any seating areas immediately adjacent to the facilities, such as patios), including any permanent secondary facilities, remain prohibited.

Club and Catering Club Licensees:

  • Club and catering club license holders may sell beer, wine and liquor for consumption on the golf course regardless of whether all, some or none of the course is licensed. This is true regardless of whether the license in question is a club or catering club liquor license that is subject to the county quota (a “C” or “CC” license) or the license in question is a club or catering club license that was issued outside the quota under an exception provided to those applicants that operate a golf course (a “PGC” or “GCC” license).
  • Sales of food and alcohol for consumption within the eating facilities (or any seating areas immediately adjacent to the facilities, such as patios), including any permanent secondary facilities (such as a halfway house), remain prohibited.
  • The prohibition on a club or catering club selling alcohol for off premises consumption (except for consumption on the golf course, as set forth above), remains.
  • Clubs and catering clubs that have a beer only license (an “O” license) may sell beer for consumption on the golf course regardless of whether all, some or none of the course is licensed.
  • Sales of food and beer for consumption within the eating facilities (or any seating areas immediately adjacent to the facilities, such as patios), including any permanent secondary facilities (such as a halfway house), remain prohibited.
  • The prohibition on a club or catering club with a beer only license selling beer for off premises consumption (except for consumption on the golf course, as set forth above), remains.

Please note that activity normally associated with golfing, such as the use of caddies, carts or starters, is permissible so long as it does not violate the Governor’s order or is otherwise unlawful.

Note: Understanding that golf course licensees will be looking to restock the wines and spirits they sell to customers, the PLCB will soon issue guidance regarding fulfilling licensee orders.

If you have any questions, they may be directed to the Chief Counsel’s office set forth below:

The Office of Chief Counsel
Room 401, Northwest Office Building
Harrisburg PA 17124-0001
ra-lblegal@pa.gov

Pa. Businesses FAQs…to review, click here.

New Jersey Reopening Policies

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 133 and 147, reopening state parks and golf courses, and restoring the authority of county governments to determine whether county parks will be open or closed. The order takes effect at sunrise on Saturday, May 2. To read the full press release, click here. For the full executive order text, click here.

The governor’s order opens golf courses so long as they adopt minimum social distancing policies that include:

  • Implementing electronic or telephone reservation and payment systems while still providing options for populations that do not have access to internet service or credit cards;
  • Extending tee times to sixteen minutes apart;
  • Limiting the use of golf cars to one person unless being shared by immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners;
  • Requiring frequent, and after each use, sanitization of high-touch areas such as restroom facilities, range buckets, golf cars, and push carts;
  • Restricting the touching of golf holes and flags;
  • Closing golf center buildings, golf shops, and other buildings and amenities;
  • Removing bunker rakes and other furniture-like benches, water coolers, and ball washers from the course;
  • Discontinuing club and equipment rentals;
  • Prohibiting the use of caddies; and
  • Foursomes are allowable;
  • The use of forecaddies is allowable;
  • Offering club and equipment rentals is allowable; and
  • Reopening restrooms with disinfecting and hygiene protocols in place; and
  • Ranges may resume operations beginning at 6:00 a.m. on May 22.

The golf course may impose additional restrictions as necessary to limit person-to-person interactions. The order also recommends, but does not order, that employees, players, and other individuals on the golf course wear cloth face coverings while on the golf course.

Delaware Policies

Delaware Governor John Carney issued modifications to the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, which included changes to how golf courses may offer golf cars to its customers. Golf courses may now provide guests from the same household with golf cars, provided that the business ensures proper cleaning between customers. Additionally, scorecards and pencils for each round of golf may be placed with the golf car prior to its use and disposed of by the golfer after use. To read the full modification, click here.

Delaware Governor John Carney today announced that the State of Delaware will lift the mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers on June 1 as part of the rolling reopening of Delaware’s economy. The governor also announced that outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people will be permitted in Delaware beginning on June 1, with basic public health precautions in place to protect against spread of COVID-19. To read the full press release, click here.

Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening is scheduled to begin on June 1, allowing retail establishments, restaurants and other businesses to open at 30 percent of stated fire capacity with social distancing requirements and other public health guidance in place. To read Delaware’s Phase 1 economic reopening guidance, click here.

In conjunction with the easing of certain business, travel and gathering restrictions, Governor Carney will lift Delaware’s stay-at-home order effective June 1, but he cautioned that Delawareans should continue to avoid unnecessary outings and gatherings to limit community spread of COVID-19.

Maryland Reopening Policies

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that golf courses across the state will be permitted to reopen, effective on Thursday, May 7, at 7:00 a.m. Governor Hogan amended his stay-at-home order to broaden the list of permitted outdoor activities to now include individual and small group sports such as golfing, tennis, and similar activities; outdoor fitness instruction; recreational fishing and hunting; recreational boating; and horseback riding. It will remain critical, however, that Marylanders continue to follow public health guidance and practice physical distancing. To read the full press release, click here77.

Governor Hogan also released guidance for golf courses, which can be reviewed below or by clicking here99.

  • Staff will be limited to management, essential golf and maintenance crew. Staff who must be within six feet of each other or of patrons should use facial covering. Patrons should similarly use facial covering if interacting with staff.
  • All employees should be screened by questionnaire daily for COVID-19 symptoms and/or contacts as per CDC guidance, and excluded if they are symptomatic. Employees who become symptomatic at work should be isolated and sent home.
  • All league, clinic, camps and organized activities will remain suspended.
  • Congregation areas, such as pro shops, clubhouses, locker rooms, halfway houses, beverage carts and swimming pools remain closed.
  • Practice facilities may be open but with social distancing protocols in place.
  • Approved pairings may ride in properly sanitized golf carts.
  • Groups of four are permitted either walking or single riders in a properly sanitized golf cart (two riders if they are from the same family).
  • Frequent cleaning of facilities and carts per Centers of Disease Control Guidelines, particularly of “high touch” surfaces.
  • All players must remove their own trash. No trash collection available on site.
  • Employees are trained on proper sanitation protocols.
  • Hand sanitizer or handwashing facilities should be readily available where appropriate.
  • Communicate that there are protocols in place for employee and customer comfort.
  • Show customers care by having signage that details social distancing protocol and COVID-19 prevention.
  • Encourage employees and customers to be well before entering your establishment.
  • Reach out to customers through communication channels that you are open for business.

For more information go to open.maryland.gov/backtobusiness.

Contact: Matt Frey, PGA, Philadelphia PGA Section, mfrey@pgahq.com