PGA Tour

Golf industry sets 3-stage plan to reopening US courses

TPC Southwind (AFP)
TPC Southwind (AFP)

US golf industry leaders unveiled a three-stage plan on Tuesday to reopen courses with safety protocols in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost all states permit or are set to allow golf courses to reopen with social distancing and other measures aimed at avoiding the spread of the deadly virus over more than 16 000 layouts.

The "Back2Golf" program, supported by the PGA and LPGA Tours plus the US Golf Association and PGA of America, also has the backing of US course owners and superintendents and club managers.

"While we recognize there's no perfect solution and various areas of the country will progress in these phases at a different pace, it's imperative that we reopen golf in a way that prioritizes the health and well being of the entire golf community," PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh said.

The stages follow guidelines for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including social distancing and greater sanitization protocols, and allow for differing stages in different areas as city and state regulations allow activity.

Stage one allows for no more than 10 people in a single area, with players distancing from each other while walking or going solo in golf carts with those in vulnerable groups not participating.

Stage two would allow for up to 50 people in an area but players still distancing from one another and still no golfing for those in vulnerable groups such as being over 60 or with existing health conditions.

A restricted course set-up remains in place, going without rakes or removing flagsticks, with limited clubhouse activities and restrictions on leagues and events.

Stage three, dubbed "the new normal," would allow golf for vulnerable people provided they use social distance guidelines and other precautionary measures. Others should minimize time in crowded situations but all golf operations can resume with unrestricted staffing.

Comprehensive sanitary procedures would remain in place with normal course maintainence and operations.

"Operation playbook" guidelines will be updated as CDC guidelines change based upon the coronavirus pandemic.

"The importance of social distancing and responsible behavior during this pandemic has become a part of everyone's daily life," Waugh said.

"Reopening golf responsibly under strict social distancing practices is something we can all unify behind."

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
42% - 7831 votes
Cricket
11% - 1969 votes
Football
19% - 3583 votes
Athletics
3% - 464 votes
Boxing
1% - 172 votes
Cycling
2% - 442 votes
Golf
5% - 915 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1552 votes
Tennis
3% - 616 votes
Water sports
1% - 168 votes
American sports
1% - 217 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 572 votes
Vote