New Jersey governor Phil Murphy has been a proactive governor during the crisis, issuing early stay-at-home orders to protect citizens and require them to remain home.
Governor Murphy closed golf courses early on as part of his stay-at-home order, but on May 2, he amended his order to allow golf courses to open to the public — albeit with myriad restrictions on how many players could be on the courses, cart use, removing shared surfaces and other regulations.
Now, Governor Murphy is removing almost all restrictions on golf courses, allowing them to operate pretty much like they did before all of this started.
The New Jersey State Golf Association reports on the change in policy outlined in Executive Order No. 153:
“14. The provisions in paragraph 9 of Executive Order No. 107 (2020), paragraphs 8 and 9 of Executive Order No. 133 (2020), paragraphs 2-3 of Executive Order No. 143 (2020), paragraph 1 of Executive Order No. 146 (2020), paragraphs 2, 5, 6, 8, and 10 of Executive Order No. 147 (2020), and paragraphs 2 and 4 of Executive Order No. 148 (2020) are hereby superseded to the extent inconsistent with this Order. To the extent provisions of these Orders are not inconsistent with this Order, they remain in full force and effect.”
The rescinded provisions were those banning golf courses from opening, restrictions on courses as they operate upon re-opening and limits on tee times, caddies and other portions of golf course operations. All rules and procedures, including around tee-time intervals, payments for play, caddies and other on-course amenities are now made at the discretion of course owners and operators.
This change means golf carts may now have two riders, but a player can request a single-rider cart.
Caddies can return, but they should wear personal protective equipment.
Golfers and employees alike are still expected to follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
Shared surfaces, like flagsticks, bunker rakes, benches, water coolers and ball washers can be again placed on the course, provided they are properly sanitized.
Golf courses and golfers alike are of course asked to be careful and take precautions when playing golf.