Golf and COVID-19: Latest news on course operations
UPDATED April 27 — Last week, the Canadian province of Ontario's government instituted a new stay-at-home order which included the closure of parks and golf courses. While Golf Ontario, the sport's governing body, has complied with the order but argued to have the order overturned, one course that is not a member of the organization defiantly opened over the weekend.
Adam Stanley at the Toronto Star reports that The Bridge at Tillsonburg near London, Ont. opened on Saturday and hosted 115 golfers. There were security guards in front of the course on Saturday but there were no reported fines handed out and the course reports they are fully booked.
Ontario's Stay-at-home order is currently in place until May 20.
Latest NGF numbers and optimism over international travel
The latest National Golf Foundation report focuses on the increase in domestic air travel passengers, which currently sits at 57% of 2019's levels. That is up from 45% at the beginning of march and 37% at the beginning of February. Their survey indicated that core golfers plan to take an average of 1.8 golf trips this year which is in line with non-pandemic years. Golfers who have taken a trip have ventured 40% farther this year compared to their trips in 2020.
Three-quarters of golf resort properties surveyed indicated that bookings are higher this May-December vs. non-pandemic years.
As for international travel, NPR reports European Union has announced American tourists who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to visit the EU this summer. There is no official date yet for the arrangement, and currently the United States' CDC is warning Americans to not visit Greece, Italy, Spain or the United Kingdom.
The Irish Mirror also reports that Ireland golf clubs are allowed to welcome non-members and guest play to their courses. They confirmed with the country's Department of Sport that visitors are allowed.
Also, breaking news as of April 27th, the CDC has updated its mask guidelines to state that fully vaccinated individuals should not feel obliged to wear masks in outdoor settings and during activities such as walking, jogging or dining outdoors with friends. (WaPo)
Is your golf course open? We are compiling the latest news on city, county and statewide shelter-in-place declarations and social distancing measures and how it relates to golf operations. The following Google spreadsheet has our latest news of city, county and statewide golf course suspensions or reopenings.
How to play golf safely during the COVID-19 pandemic
Many medical experts believe that golf is one of the safest activities you can participate in during the current outbreak as long as you take proper precautions. These include social distancing with the other golfers at the course and in your group, not sharing a golf cart unless it is with an immediate family member you live with, not shaking hands after the round and not socializing in the clubhouse afterwards. US governing bodies revealed new "Back 2 Golf" guidelines on May 5th that share best practices for golf course operators and players. See their recommendations here.
Golf Course Operators
- US State Dept set to issue more international travel warnings
- Limited fans in attendance at RBC Heritage
- Ontario golf course owner calls for regional approach to COVID-19
- Toronto Star: Golfers urge government to reopen courses
- Golf Canada launched nationwide campaign to grow the game in 2021
- Report: PGA Tour will require non-vaccinated golfers to pay for own COVID-19 test
• New York Times: Will golf, tennis continue to thrive after COVID-19?
• WaPo: Players marks one year since COVID-19 halted golf
• Golf Channel Live From: Inside the day that golf stood still
• RBC Canadian Open canceled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
• Coronavirus helps golf bounce back in Japan
• Star-Tribune: COVID-19 Changed the way we play, watch, cheer
• News4Jax: The Players tees off with changes in place
• PGA Championship will cap attendance to 10,000 per day at Kiawah Island this May
• Thailand welcoming South Koreans to play golf to lift tourism
• The Atlantic: Most likely timeline for a "return to normal"
• Oro Valley set to reopen 9-hole Pusch Ridge course following extended closure
• Following reopening announcement, England clubs 'extremely disappointed'
• WSJ: For Golfers, a Covid Winter Brings Unexpected Perks
• BBC: Golfers in England fined for playing golf
• El Paso course to reopen folllowing months-long closure
• College golf adding COVID-19 attestation forms to tournaments
• WSJ: COVID-19 even better than Tiger for golf
• Kamaiu Johnson WDs from Farmers with COVID-19, says mother hospitalized
• Golf Datatech's full 2020 Rounds Played Report
• Will 2020 momentum carry into 2021? (GolfPass)
• High-tech ways hotels try to make us safe during pandemic
• Colorado course closes due to COVID-19 cases
• Impact of COVID-19 on Golf Course Equipment industry
• Free COVID-19 antibody tests offered at Bobby Jones Golf Club
• COVID-19 relief money earmarked for clubhouse may go to payroll
• Golf continues to boom on Long Island (NYC CBS)
• Topeka, Kansas rounds up 10% despite winter weather
• Sky Sports: Should courses be allowed to stay open in GB&I?
• 2022 PGA Championship pulled from Trump Bedminster (NBC News)
•Limited attendance announced for 2021 Masters (Masters.com)
• New dates for 2021 U.S. Senior Women's Open (USGA)
• GolfChannel.com: Biggest questions in 2021 for PGA Tour
• Lynch: Phoenix Open shouldn't have fans
• Newsday: Muni golf sees spike in revenue and play
• Tucker: How private club life roared back in 2020
• Hawaii offering free round trip tickets to work remotely there
• Harford County (Md.) courses experience big year in rounds
• GolfNow reveals latest operator survey on COVID-19 impact
• Las Vegas courses see COVID-19 bump in rounds
• Boris Johnson unveils UK's winter outlook
• New Mexico orders courses closed again
• Old Course Hotel in Scotland closes due to COVID-19 restrictions
• Hoggard: Fall Masters unlike any other
• Waikoloa (Big Island) to reopen golf course after several months
• Western Mass. courses booming thanks to weather
• Cedar Rapids plans to repurpose closed municipal course
• President-elect Biden announced COVID-19 task force
• Ka'anapali scraps redevelopment plans
•Golf Clubs in Ireland to close a second time amid pandemic
• New York Times: The Art of letting go and getting into golf
• Deegan: Golfers got better during the 2020 pandemic
• Best year in a long time for Western New York golf courses
• Guardian: Course turned into park and now no one wants to leave
• Portland's Broadmoor Golf Course closes after 89 years
• Minnesota golf operators say 2020 was 'crazy busy'
• Tucker: New invention proposes rakes in golfers' bags
• Two Hawaii courses close permanently due to pandemic
• Most successful year ever for 50-year-old Jasper, Ind. course
• Villages in Florida allows flagsticks to be removed for putting
• Popular English course to close this fall
• University set to close golf course Nov. 1
• St. Kitts & Nevis to reopen borders Oct. 31
• Cruise industry 'optomistic' to sail by the end of 2020
• Stats say 'optimism' rising for holiday travel
• NGF: Industry leaders on sustaining golf's COVID-19 bump
• WaPo: Golf had its best summer in decades
• Hawaii set to welcome back tourists on October 15
• Golf Datatech: Retail sales up 32%
• "You can bring a bag full of White Claws" - golf hot amongst women, young people (Yahoo Finance)
• WATCH: The GolfNow Industry Report for Sept 29
• Illinois receives $5 million donation for golf course
• Cleveland.com: Exceptional golf summer in northeast Ohio
• Tokatee spared thus far in Oregon fires
• USGA announces second Golf House in Pinehurst
• Delaware's Rookery North Announces permanent closure
• Denver's City Park Golf Course officially reopens