New York is the state hardest hit by the public health 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 in the days after Governor Andrew Cuomo's initial stay-at-home order, even as tee sheets were previously filled with players looking to get in some safe exercise and entertainment while practicing social distancing.
On March 26, Cuomo changed his mind on New York golf courses, allowing them to remain open and serve golfers provided the courses follow CDC and New York state guidelines.
However, on April 9, he changed his mind again. Golf courses in the state of New York must close through April 29. Courses have been deemed a non-essential business, and they must shut down.
Now, as of April 17, golf courses in New York can open for play, provided social distancing is observed and CDC/state guidelines are followed. Golf courses remain non-essential, but this carve out has been made. Most typical on-course employees cannot be on site.
The courses which had been open were promoting 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. Now, there cannot be golf carts, only walking.
Golf courses couldn't allow access to pro shops, locker rooms, indoor facilities or restaurants/bars. There were to be no transactions of money, credit cards or other payment for purpose of play, equipment and merchandise. Private clubs will adhere to the guidelines, though cash and credit-card transactions aren't an issue for the overwhelming number of private clubs, with members paying off accounts each month.
Restaurants and bars at courses are allowed to fulfill takeout orders.
Municipal golf courses in many parts of the state had already closed, and many privately owned public facilities did so, too. Now, they're required closed by the governor.