TRENTON, N.J. – In conjunction with several golf associations in New Jersey, Assemblyman Hal Wirths and Sen. Steve Oroho are urging Gov. Phil Murphy to reopen state golf courses with some restrictions.
“We have to start reopening the economy where we can and allowing people to participate in responsible exercise that can be done while abiding by CDC guidelines. Golf is a safe sport that gives people the opportunity to play outside in the fresh air and maintain social distancing,” explained Wirths, the Assembly Republican budget officer. “People can pay golf fees online, tee times can be staggered, and reasonable restrictions could allow the industry to start earning some money again while giving people a chance to play a sport they love.”
On Friday, New York said that private golf courses could open if they could operate under certain restrictions like golfers carrying their own bags and no employees except for grounds maintenance or security personnel. Connecticut is allowing golf courses to reopen under similar restrictions and permitting one rider per golf cart if they cannot walk.
New Jersey’s public and private golf courses have been closed by the governor since March 30 as part of the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Golf is a no-contact sport that can be played with appropriate social distancing practices in place. Plus, it is a healthy activity that can help restore some sense of normalcy for many golf enthusiasts in our state while positively contributing to the economy,” said Oroho, the Senate Republican budget officer. “As a state, we need to start to plan for our economic recovery from this pandemic. Essential businesses have proven that it is possible to operate with some common sense limits to protect the health and safety of workers and patrons. We must start looking at other industries where we can safely open with appropriate safeguards, like golfing, or we put the long-term viability of these businesses in jeopardy.”
The New Jersey Golf Course Owners Association sent a letter to the governor outlining some of the guidelines that the state’s golf courses would follow if they were allowed to reopen. Some of the guidelines that would apply to the approximately 300 courses in the state include mandating that golfers walk or allowing only one person per cart, maintaining social distancing on the course and modifying driving ranges to ensure proper separation, and having staff wear gloves and masks. The letter requests that the governor reopen golf courses by May 1.