As stay-at-home orders begin to lift, 95% of golf courses across the country will start opening for at least some level of play, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF). There are still some local government orders keeping golf closed in metro areas like New York City, Washington D.C., and Chicago. Golf retail, both on- and off-course, is also coming back, trailing course openings but headed in the same direction. And golf consumer anxiety – emotional and financial – is easing.
“While it’s encouraging to see the golf business making a comeback, this isn’t business as usual, not from the standpoint of golf course operations, or golfers’ compliance and responsibility. Golf course operators have specific safety protocols to follow, as do golfers”, states Dr. Joseph F Beditz, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NGF.
Golf has been given the go-ahead because it’s considered a relatively safe activity when social distancing is maintained, and other precautions are followed. But make no mistake, what has been given can be taken away. It’s now up to both golf course operators and golfers to keep golf open. Bad behavior will get noticed and possibly recorded on a smartphone. One course in Florida was recently shut down by the local sheriff’s department for flagrant safety violations.
These golfers aren’t just the beer cooler crowd we’re talking about. Many private club boards are struggling with disciplinary decisions concerning members who refuse to follow the rules.
“The National Golf Foundation is sending an urgent message to golf courses around the country, encouraging operators to follow the excellent guidance that’s been provided by leading golf associations and reminding golfers that it’s up to them whether golf courses continue to remain open for play. For golfers who’ve wondered about the pros and cons of celebrity status, they’ve got a taste of it now, with potential paparazzi ready to record the slightest misstep,” Dr. Joseph emphasized.
For more information on the NGF study, visit the organization’s website.