California governor Gavin Newsom was one of the governors out in front of the current crisis, issuing a stay-at-home order on March 19.
California residents were asked to remain at home unless they have to leave to get food, seek medical treatment, get outdoor exercise or go to work at an essential business. All businesses deemed non-essential were to close their physical locations. However, golf courses were not explicitly named in the order as a business that had to close or had to remain open, primarily because golf courses were seen as a non-essential business that could provide essential exercise.
Counties and cities made choices to close owned-and-operated courses, but some jurisdictions also announced more stringent orders which closed courses. Now, some of those orders are starting to be rescinded. In some parts of California, golf courses are opening again.
Which golf courses are open in California?
Sacramento County golf courses have remained open throughout the stay-at-home orders, meaning the state capital has seen golf course bookings skyrocket.
Orange County voted to open golf courses, both public and private, on April 21, provided safety precautions and guidelines were followed.
Riverside County has also re-opened courses, issuing an April 20 order through the county Department of Public Health to allow courses to operate, including throughout the Coachella Valley. Players must wear face coverings at all times while on the course.
Ventura County has re-opened courses, limiting golfers to foursomes, which you would expect. The county has one of the lowest number of cases in Southern California.
San Bernardino County has re-opened starting April 25, with face coverings required and the now-typical safety precautions in place.
Napa County has also eased restrictions to allow golf courses and driving ranges to open, requiring owners and staff to enforce safety guidelines and social distancing.
Courses in the six-county consortium in the Bay Area — Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara — are allowed to re-open on May 4.
Sonoma County is allowing golf courses to re-open as soon as May 4, and courses will have to follow regulations. Players will be required to wear face coverings.
San Diego County allowed golf courses to re-open on May 1, with regulations that have become commonplace around the country.
Which golf courses are closed in California?
With Los Angeles County opening courses on May 9, counties throughout the state have opened courses.