COVID-19 UPDATES AND GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE
The White House, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance for large events and mass gatherings and recommends that for the next eight weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 10 people or more throughout the United States. More information on the White House’s guidance can be found by clicking here and the CDC’s guidance can be found by clicking here.
Employee Rights: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Click here for more information.
REOPENING GUIDANCE: Click here for detailed guidance from the Allied Golf Organizations, the Pennsylvania Alliance for Golf and policies for New Jersey.
PENNSYLVANIA BUSINESS WAIVERS
The Philadelphia PGA Section has been in contact with numerous state legislators and officials to clarify how golf facilities are affected by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s order for all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their physical locations to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Section has been advised that businesses seeking a waiver to the order should email with this email address: RAfirstname.lastname@example.org.
The Section encourages our golf facilities to email RAemail@example.com asking for exemptions for the following:
- Allowing members and / or guests to walk and carry their own bags on the golf course with no staff interaction (allowing for appropriate social distancing)
- Allowing golf facility superintendents to continue to maintain the property to protect against future financial hardship if courses become overgrown
- If applicable, we recommend that private-equity facilities state that their members have ownership stakes in the facility
As a reminder, full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places may continue to operate for takeout only.
We believe that the more golf facilities that request waivers, the more seriously the state legislature and / or governor’s office will consider blanket exemptions for golf courses.
The Section requests that PGA Professionals that send an email to RAfirstname.lastname@example.org, that they also copy (cc) Section Executive Director Geoff Surrette, PGA, (email@example.com) and Section Communications Director Matt Frey, PGA (firstname.lastname@example.org) so the Section has the ability to lobby on your behalf as well.
Delaware Governor John Carney 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 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.
Maryland has a COVID-19 business response webpage, which can be visited by clicking here. The state is also offering COVID-19 emergency relief fund programs for businesses (click here to learn more) and a COVID-19 layoff aversion fund (to read more, click here).
In accordance with tax rules applicable to 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organizations, the PGA of America, and its Sections, must collect annual dues. As such, the PGA of America and the Philadelphia PGA Section will collect dues under revamped procedures that take into account the significant challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you all know, your dues are a combination of Section and national dues. Your annual dues are very important to the Section as we rely on this revenue for our operations. These funds help us to provide a high level of member services, drive more benefits, host tournaments, seminars and events, and expand growth of the game initiatives, while allowing us to continue programs that will benefit the Section and you as a PGA Professional.
We at the Section appreciate the collaboration between PGA Headquarters and the 41 Sections to help get all parties to the other side of this crisis. This collaboration has enabled all Sections, including the Philadelphia Section, to push dues back to October 31 collectively.
PGA Members and Associates will have two payment options:
- Pay full dues amount any time through October 31, 2020, without penalty or late fee; OR
- Pay in two installments:
- Pay Section amount only any time through October 31, 2020, without penalty or late fee.
- Pay National, Life, Liability and MAP any time through October 31, 2020, without penalty or late fee, provided all dues components are paid by October 31, 2020.
Those unable to pay the full dues amount by October 31, 2020, would be moved to nonactive status, and can still pay the full dues by June 30, 2021, to “re-establish” Membership (per the Bylaws), and the PGA of America would waive the late and reestablish fee. If not able to re-establish by June 30, 2021, individuals would need to reinstate their Membership. If the one-time reinstatement option has been previously used, approval has already been granted for a second reinstatement for those affected by COVID-19.
If you are a PGA Professional hurting financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, please apply today for the Golf Emergency Relief fund at relief.golf.
PGA of America and Section dues invoices are expected to be available on May 1 on PGA.org. If you have questions about Section dues, please contact Section Communications Director Matt Frey, PGA, at email@example.com. If you have any questions about the invoices / payment procedues on PGA.org, please call the PGA Membership Department directly at 1-800-474-2776.
PHILADELPHIA PGA SECTION UPDATES
As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise across our region, the Philadelphia PGA Section is closely monitoring all available information related to the continued spread of the virus from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), state and local governments, and the PGA of America.
The health and safety of our membership, staff, and partners are our top priority. As such, the Philadelphia PGA Section has adjusted the following:
- Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour Events: POSTPONED THROUGH MID-MAY
- Awards Banquet: POSTPONED
- Spring Membership Meeting and Golf: CANCELLED
- Women in Golf Summit: POSTPONED
- Central Counties Chapter Spring Meeting: POSTPONED
- Philadelphia Players Championship: RESCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 14
- Spring Pro-Pro: RESCHEDULED FOR JUNE 8 AT BURLINGTON C.C.
- 35th Burlington Classic Pro-Am: CANCELLED
- Delaware Valley Open: RESCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 17
- Spring Pro-Lady: RESCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 6
- Pro-Am for Wishes: CANCELLED
The Section will continue to review its schedule and operations based on CDC, WHO and government guidance and communicate updates with you.
For the foreseable future, the Philadelphia PGA Section staff will be working remotely. Any questions should be directed to the Section’s Communications Director, Matt Frey, PGA: firstname.lastname@example.org. Should you need to reach any of our other staff members, their remote contact information is listed below.
Executive Director, Geoff Surrette, PGA: (215) 399-7872, email@example.com
Assistant Executive Director, Barb Creveling: (215) 237-3888, firstname.lastname@example.org
PGA REACH Philadelphia Director, Leila Mackie, PGA: (704) 689-3136, email@example.com
Tournament Director, Brian Schulte, PGA: (215) 778-4411, firstname.lastname@example.org
Communications Director, Matt Frey, PGA: (513) 205-3081, email@example.com
Member Services Administrator, Sue Unger: (215) 287-6139, firstname.lastname@example.org
PGA REACH Philadelphia Coordinator, Courtney Curcio: (856) 685-3167, email@example.com
Tournament Coordinator, Lewis Harry, PGA: (575) 405-3684, firstname.lastname@example.org
Operations Coordinator, Colin Marshall: (717) 870-7554, email@example.com
PGA OF AMERICA COVID-19 RESOURCES
The PGA of America has created a COVID-19 resource page for PGA Members and Associates, which can be visited by clicking here. The page includes resources for facilities, action steps for the general population and golf facilities, courses and food & beverage operations, and also provides information about the SupportLinc Member Assistance Program.
LETTER FROM PGA OF AMERICA OFFICERS
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the worlds of business and sports has quickly become more far reaching than we could have imagined. Our business will be affected, as will the lives of our friends and family. We are all feeling the strain of the unknown and the stress and anxiety a crisis can cause.
We want you to know that your Association is doing everything we can to mitigate risk and lead in a challenging time. Times like these give us a moment to pause and to assess changes that our facilities and association can pursue…to act in a way that reflects golf’s values among our constituents, and to stand tall knowing that we are the keepers of the game.
First and foremost, in challenging times like these, our utmost priority is on the health and well-being of our members and all involved with the work of the PGA.
While at least the next few weeks will prove challenging for our entire society, the golf industry will need to be prepared to come back strongly after things return to normal. We should be preparing now to take the necessary steps to reassure the public about the many benefits of our game, facilities and Professionals.
As such, we are thinking pragmatically about the Association’s business through the framework of our long-term strategic plan with focus on our members, game, business and people. For the purposes of this letter, we’ve bucketed the communication into three areas:
- PGA Professionals, their facilities and the golf industry
- Our Championships and events
- The operations of the Association and Sections.
PGA Professionals, their facilities and the golf industry – Communication is key. Yesterday, PGA Chief Membership Officer John Easterbrook sent a note to the membership outlining that PGA HQ staff will be operating remotely effective Monday; while Valhalla and PGA Golf Club remain open to the public. We also provided a set of common-sense recommendations for consideration by operators. We have committed to keeping PGA Professionals up-to-date through “Five Things to Know” and PGA.org on a regular basis. From an MSR and education perspective, please note the following:
- MSR Cycle – Extend the MSR cycle deadline from June 15, 2021 to June 15, 2022, for all Members. This is due to a number of MSR activity opportunities – meetings, education, tournaments, player development – that could be postponed or canceled. Additionally, this relieves pressure on Sections and Members to conduct or take part in these activities during this unprecedented time of uncertainty.
- Acceptable Progress – Extend the Acceptable Progress deadlines of all PGA Associates by one year. As travel to the PGA Education Center is currently curtailed, PGA Education staff is exploring online opportunities. With the uncertainty of testing sites remaining open, this provides flexibility with regard to Associates meeting their deadlines.
- PGA Golf Management University Students – 14 of our 18 GMU’s have currently cancelled classes and have moved to online delivery. PGA Education Staff will work with the universities directly in regard to needed accommodations within the Criteria and Standards.
- PGA Associates – We have cancelled pending seminars at Port St. Lucie through April. 81 individuals were impacted and we are refunding everyone’s registration fee and charging them back at a discounted rate. The team is looking into online options that could be adopted in the future. Teaching & coaching and Executive Management is offered on a quarterly basis and therefore have not been impacted.
Championships and Events – At this time, we are working closely with state and local public health and government officials in Texas, California and Michigan and Pennsylvania regarding the playing of our upcoming events: The PPC, PGA Championship, KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and the KPMG Womens PGA Championshiop. With the PGA TOUR canceling of The Players Championship and its next three events; the LPGA postponing its next three events, including its first Major Championship, after already cancelling three tournaments in Asia; and Augusta National postponing the Masters, we will be asked many questions about the status of our Championships and events.
We will continue to evaluate the status of each event every two weeks and provide further updates when available. Our hope is that the situation will improve, and once cleared by public health authorities, our events could be a welcome a “return to normal” in some form. That said, the health and well-being of all involved is our first priority and mandates from public health authorities will guide our decisions.
Due to recent NCAA actions, our PGA Works Collegiate Championship and the NextGen Spring Nationals are being cancelled as of today.
Association/Section Business – As noted above, we have asked all staff to work remotely for the foreseeable future in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our team. We would recommend that all PGA Sections follow our lead in this area. We have stressed to our staff how important it is that we continue to operate at an extremely high level to serve our Members and Sections during this period.
In addition, we have put a travel ban in effect both internationally and domestically. Again, we would recommend that you do the same. For at least the next four weeks, we also recommend that you postpone any group gatherings you are planning to host. And most importantly, stay close to what your state and local officials advise for your area. In addition, with the PGA Tour event cancelations, the corresponding qualifying events are also cancelled. Please let those participants know immediately.
PGA Member Assistance Program
People are understandably concerned about their health, jobs and future. During these unprecedented times, the PGA Member Assistance Program provides confidential, professional counseling and online services for a wide array of personal and well-being concerns. We encourage you to remind your fellow Members they can seek help at resources.pga.org. In addition, online guidance on preventive health and safety measures we can all take are available from the CDC.
We pledge to communicate relentlessly with all stakeholders and be open at all times as this situation inevitably evolves. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time with questions and concerns. Remember that we are all in this together, will get out of it together and be that much stronger for the experience.
PREPARING FOR COVID-19 IN THE WORKPLACE
The PGA of America established a new resource center on PGA.org specific to helping our Professionals who are employers and / or employees with questions. Because the specifics of employment law and recommended COVID-19 best practices are different state-by-state, we have included a link that will direct PGA Professionals to the 50 state departments of labor for information that is relevant based on their location. Please pass this resource along to anyone looking for resources related to employment issues during these challenging times.
Following today’s debut video, we will also be opening it up to questions from you to help us address the issues that matter most to you all out in the field. If you have a specific question, please submit it here. We may not get to all of your questions on next week’s update, but will try to answer as many as possible.
NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL GOLF EVENTS
2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Rescheduled, October 6-11…click here for the full press release
2020 ShopRite LPGA Classic: Rescheduled, October 2-4
2020 Masters Tournament: Rescheduled, November 12-15
2020 PGA Championship: Rescheduled, August 6-9
2020 U.S. Open: Rescheduled, September 17-20
2020 Open Championship: Cancelled
2020 PGA Professional Championship: Postponed. Click here to read the full press release.
2020 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Philadelphia Cricket Club: Cancelled. Click here for the full statement.
GOLF PROFESSIONAL NATURAL DISASTER BEST PRACTICES FACEBOOK GROUP
As PGA Professionals and industry leaders we get many questions in the face of disaster. It is often overwhelming and can create a sense of helplessness. This tool should assist all of us in finding answers and solutions to the many diverse issues created by natural disaster. It will serve as a building block as natural disasters continue to confront our industry, membership and personal lives.
The group attracted almost 800 golf professionals and industry leaders. We hope you’ll join as well and then share with all of your “golf influencers”…it’s not just for golf professionals (thanks to those who previously joined and shared the group). The more golf leaders we have in the group, the broader and deeper our scope of best practices…better answers and solutions for the challenges ahead. Click here to request access.