Maryland golf courses have been closed for weeks, as Governor Larry Hogan declared golf clubs and facilities as non-essential businesses that had to close under his stay-at-home order.
The governor knows golfers are frustrated. They comment on his social media accounts and during his daily, live-streamed news conferences, wondering when the golf courses can re-open.
On April 24, Hogan gave Maryland golfers some hope, telling them that golf courses will be among the first non-essential businesses to re-open when the long process of relaxation begins. On May 6, he gave them the news they wanted to hear: golf courses are allowed to re-open at 7 a.m. on May 7.
Speaking to Politico in a YouTube interview on April 24, Hogan said, “I think it will be one of the early things that we do in the first part of our reopening."
In states where golf courses remain open, courses have been required to close gathering spaces, like clubhouses, locker rooms, lounges and the like. Golfers have been required to leave quickly after their rounds. Courses have taken precautions to remove shared surfaces like bunker rakes, ball washers and water coolers. Tee times have been spaced out, and golfers are required to observe social distancing guidelines.
All of those things will be part of re-opening golf courses in Maryland.
"We probably will still have to be … I don’t see you being able to hang at the bar with your buddies in the clubhouse," Hogan said. "But I think you’ll be able to get out there and, you know, take a few swings in the grass in a safe way.”
Hogan's stay-at-home order is open-ended, without a definitive end date.
Maryland is the next-to-last state to re-open golf courses, with Massachusetts now the last to keep courses closed.