Good news! Golfers in Massachusetts can finally get back out on the course, but only under strict COVID-19 regulations.
The announcement came this week as part of Governor Charlie Baker’s updated emergency rules and is part of an early attempt to ease the state's restrictions on non-essential businesses.
While pent-up putters are excited to get back to the links, they may find the experience quite different than they are used to.
For example, courses are still not allowed to have employees present, except for security purposes. Pro shops, bars, and clubhouse restaurants will remain closed.
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Rather than entering the pro shop to pay for a round, credit cards must be taken online or by phone.
Tee times will be set every 15 minutes for groups of four or less, and the security staff will ensure players adhere to social distancing measures.
While the rules do not mention masks for players, a new statewide order may mean golfers will have to play with their faces covered.
How else can you expect your spring golf game to differ?
- 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 the property
- Club facilities including but not limited to the club house, pro 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.
- Flag sticks 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