New York is the state hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, and the state has some of the strongest stay-at-home measures in place to protect is residents.
With golf courses not deemed an essential business, that meant golf courses around the state were closing, even as tee sheets were previously filled with players looking to get in some safe exercise and entertainment while practicing social distancing. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo has changed his mind on New York golf courses, and if they can remain open.
On March 26, the governor's office issued clarity for courses, allowing them to remain open and serve golfers provided the courses follow CDC and New York state guidelines.
The courses must promote social distancing, including golfers staying 6 feet away from each other at all times, leaving flagsticks in the hole, removing common surfaces like rakes and ball washers, preventing hand shakes and embraces before and after the round, and limiting golf carts to a single rider.
Golf courses cannot allow access to pro shops, locker rooms, indoor facilities or restaurants/bars. Restaurants and bars at courses are allowed to fulfill takeout orders.
There are to be no transactions of money, credit cards or other payment for purpose of play, equipment and merchandise. That means courses will have to take payment online beforehand.
Municipal golf courses in many parts of the state are closed, and many privately owned public facilities may not reopen, but they do now have the capability.