Is Golf Still Allowed in Your State?

State-wide stay-home executive orders in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic might have you confused about whether golf is or isn’t allowed where you live or even near where you live. Enter the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America with a state-by-state list of where it’s still OK to play.

 

The GCSAA has been monitoring the shifting directives from states on whether golf courses should be characterized as non-essential businesses or as an acceptable outdoor activity with proper social distancing. Officials and state golf associations have even had to check whether courses can be maintained when there is a public ban on golf. It’s not an insignificant part of the issue, especially for many courses right at the start of the growing season. A GCSAA letter being sent to state leaders across the country calls out specifically the challenges with leaving a closed golf course without regular maintenance.
 
“Spring is a critical time for turfgrass,” the letter reads. “If turfgrass is lost, many courses may face permanent closure. Turfgrass cannot be neglected for extended periods of time.” The letter also cites that the decline of course maintenance could lead to vandalism and “the landscape and property of a golf course could become compromised, damaged or unsafe.” The letter indicates that proper maintenance also reduces the threat of “disease carrying pests, including ticks and mosquitoes.”
 
Currently, the language in most executive orders from state governors’ offices is rarely specific to golf, and only after direct contact have states often clarified the situation. So far 11 states have specifically banned golf being played (California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), although the situation is ever-changing and eight other states are listed as pending as golf course groups seek clarification on recent executive orders. That includes the hardest hit state New York. In some cases, courses, clubs or resorts have opted to pause operations even if their states haven’t mandated it. As David Phipps, the GCSAA’s Northwest field staff representative, put it, “It’s been a rollercoaster ride the last few days trying to keep track of all these executive orders across my region.”
 
Here’s the GCSAA’s current state-by-state assessment (Just a reminder that this listing is very fluid and is in no way a legally binding document. It’s best to check with your local and state authorities on the most current situation, and your local course specifically, as county or city rules may supersede any state order) :
 
ALABAMA
Governor Directive: Is golf open for play?: Yes
Governor Directive: Is golf course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
ALASKA
Season has not started
 
ARIZONA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
ARKANSAS
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
CALIFORNIA
Golf open for play?: No (But some areas open for play)
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
COLORADO
Golf open for play?: Yes (County health departments determine whether golf can be played)
Course maintenance allowed?: Pending
 
CONNECTICUT
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
DELAWARE
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
FLORIDA
Golf open for play?: Yes (Miami-Dade and Broward counties preventing play)
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
GEORGIA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
HAWAII
Golf open for play?: Pending (some islands allowing golf; others not; voluntary closures)
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
IDAHO
Golf open for play?: Pending
Course maintenance allowed?: Pending
 
ILLINOIS
Golf open for play?: No
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
INDIANA
Golf open for play?: Yes (Howard County bans play)
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
IOWA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
KANSAS
Golf open for play?: Yes (some cities preventing play)
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
KENTUCKY
Golf open for play?: Pending
Course maintenance allowed?: Pending
 
LOUISIANA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
MAINE
Golf open for play?: Pending
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
MARYLAND
Golf open for play?: No
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
MASSACHUSETTS
Golf open for play?: No
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes (town boards may restrict maintenance)
 
MICHIGAN
Golf open for play?: No
Course maintenance allowed?: Pending (basic maintenance being performed, waiting for clarification)
 
MINNESOTA
Golf open for play?: No
Course maintenance allowed?: Pending
 
MISSISSIPPI
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
MISSOURI
Golf open for play?: Pending
Course maintenance allowed?: Pending
 
MONTANA
Golf open for play?: Pending (many courses closing)
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
NEBRASKA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
NEVADA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
NEW HAMPSHIRE
Golf open for play?: No
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
NEW JERSEY
Golf open for play?: No
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
NEW MEXICO
Golf open for play?: Pending
Course maintenance allowed?: Pending
 
NEW YORK
Golf open for play?: Pending (Met section clubs are closing)
Course maintenance allowed?: Pending
 
NORTH CAROLINA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
NORTH DAKOTA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
OHIO
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
OKLAHOMA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
OREGON
Golf open for play?: Yes (voluntary closures, including Bandon Dunes)
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
PENNSYLVANIA
Golf open for play?: No
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
RHODE ISLAND
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
SOUTH CAROLINA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
SOUTH DAKOTA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
TENNESSEE
Golf open for play?: Yes (state park courses closing)
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
TEXAS
Golf open for play?: Yes (counties may restrict play)
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
UTAH
Golf open for play?: Yes (cities may restrict play)
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
VERMONT
Golf open for play?: No
Course maintenance allowed?: Pending
 
VIRGINIA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
WASHINGTON
Golf open for play?: No
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
WEST VIRGINIA
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
WISCONSIN
Golf open for play?: No
Course maintenance alloWed?: Yes
 
WYOMING
Golf open for play?: Yes
Course maintenance allowed?: Yes
 
 
By Mike Stachura
 
This article originally appeared on GolfDigest.com.

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