Washington governor Jay Inslee has been a proactive governor during the crisis, issuing early stay-at-home orders to protect citizens and require them to remain home.
Governor Inslee issued a stay-at-home order early on, which had been extended through May 4, requiring non-essential businesses to close and citizens to stay at home unless they had to go obtain emergency services, get food or get light exercise. Golf courses were considered non-essential, and courses throughout the state had to close.
However, Washington golf courses can once again open thanks to changes made by Governor Inslee.
In a new order that will start May 5, golf courses will be allowed to open again. Inslee worked with the Golf Alliance of Washington to establish safety rules.
Per the directive, golf courses must comply with Governor Inslee's state order around workplace safety practices.
Among the regulations in Washington, golf courses must take pre-payment for rounds with credit/debit cards only; maintain a log of players and their information; limit groups to twosomes unless all from the same household, then allowing foursomes.
Golfers can ride in carts, but they're limited to one player each -- unless a junior from the same household as the driver is riding along. Practice facilities are open, but they're only available to players within 30 minutes of their tee time and with 10 feet of spacing between driving range stations.
Courses are 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. Cups and holes will be removed from practice greens.
This is great news for golfers in Washington, as the state becomes to fourth to allow golf courses to re-open after being closed for several weeks. Wisconsin re-opened on April 24. Minnesota announced a reversal of previous closures. Illinois and Pennsylvania courses re-open on May 1.