Golf and COVID-19: Latest news on course operations

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 26: A sunset view of a gounds crew worker cutting the green on the south course at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course on January 26, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

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

Headlines archive

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

Shipnuck: 2020 the year of the birdie

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

Pandemic set to give Texas course best year ever

Endwell Greens Extends Closure To Entire Facility Due To COVID Cases

Bozeman Business Boom: Why more people are teeing it up at local golf courses during COVID-19

Possible COVID-19 exposure at Wisconsin Rapids golf course

Heritage Oaks Golf Course temporarily closes

Local golfers still playing around coronavirus threats

Albuqurque courses experiencing huge rounds increases in 2020

Vail Resorts decides to close Michigan's Mt. Brighton Golf Course permanently

67 employees at Georgia club test positive for COVID-19, closes club

Rabid demand at Aspen Golf Club as tee sheet books out in 3 minutes

Jack Nicklaus reveals he and Barbara had COVID-19 in March

Hanover Country Club closes after 121 years

Northern Michigan course closed due to employee's positive test

Meriden, CT courses doing record rounds

PGA Tour: No fans, Pro-Ams for rest of 2020

Record rounds reported on Utah golf courses

California's Elkins Ranch closing permanently on Labor Day

Colorado's Keystone Resort only operating one of two courses this summer

What it's currently like playing golf at Pebble Beach Golf Resort

Members pitch in to save Scotland's Brora Golf Club in 2020

Planning a golf trip this summer? Here are 10 things to consider

These top-rated golf courses still haven't reopened

High-quality muni golf coming to D.C. featuring Hanse, Doak and Welling input

First PGA Tour player tests positive at event

NGF: Military, municipal, casino courses still not open

Atlanta-area course will turn into a public course every Tuesday


• (6/13) Yale Golf Course closed until the end of July

•(6/12) Furor over continued closure of New York City golf courses
• (6/8) Tee time intervals are wider, but rounds booked still up YoY

• (6/7) R&A launches £7 mllion COVID-19 relief fund for golf courses

• (6/7) Ohio events including Memorial, Marathon will allow spectators

• (6/4) New normal at Honolulu muni Ala Wai, others

• (6/4) Scotsman: Guidelines for Scotland golf course reopenings

•(6/3) Golf World: Inside look at America's surging desire to get back to golf

(6/3) Suburban Chicago golf courses celebrate busy month

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