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Golf Courses closed through April 29

Ed Townsend - Columnist
Posted 4/16/20

New York is the state hardest hit by the public health crisis, and the state has some of the strongest stay-at-home measures in place to protect its residents.

With golf courses not deemed an …

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Golf Courses closed through April 29


New York is the state hardest hit by the public health crisis, and the state has some of the strongest stay-at-home measures in place to protect its residents.

With golf courses not deemed an essential business, that meant golf courses around the state were closing in the days after Governor Andrew Cuomo's initial stay-at-home order, even as tee sheets were previously filled with players looking to get in some safe exercise and entertainment while practicing social distancing.

On March 26, Cuomo changed his mind on New York golf courses, allowing them to remain open and serve golfers provided the courses follow CDC and New York state guidelines.

However, on April 9, he changed his mind again. Golf courses in the State of New York must close through April 29. Courses have been deemed a non-essential business, and they must shut down.

The courses which had been open were promoting social distancing, including golfers staying six feet away from each other at all times, leaving flagsticks in the hole, removing common surfaces like rakes and ball washers, preventing hand shakes and embraces before and after the round, and limiting golf carts to a single rider.

Golf courses couldn't allow access to pro shops, locker rooms, indoor facilities or restaurants/bars. There were to be no transactions of money, credit cards or other payment for the purpose of play, equipment and merchandise.

Restaurants and bars at courses are allowed to fulfill takeout orders.

Municipal golf courses in many parts of the state had already closed, and many privately-owned public facilities did so, too. Now, they're required to be closed by the governor.

Where Is The Game of Golf Going?

There are far, far graver concerns today than the state of the golf industry but let's take a look how COVID-19 is affecting different parts of the business.

What's the overall take on COVID-19's long-term impact on the overall golf business?

Golf manufacturers are still taking orders while slowing production due to COVID-19 and have been overly cautious regarding the safety of the employees.

Those manufacturers doing business with Chinese suppliers are dealing with shipping delays. Inventory that was due in February will finally show up this month.

Taiwan is one of the few countries that handled this really well and it appears that manufacturers there have had little to no downtime.

Early predictions say that companies can ride this thing out, provided it does not last too long.

And what does it look like for the golf consumer?

Some are saying it's going to be a great time to be in the market for golf equipment but the OEMs and retailers will have revenue to make up but it's still going to have an impact on sales because a lot of people are not playing.

Retailers are going to be doing whatever they can do to drive traffic.

In the long term, the golf industry is hearing reports of layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts at many OEMs and in retail cycles, March and April are probably close to 20 percent of the year's total and it may be difficult to make that up on the back end.

If golfers are looking to see the end of the tunnel..... there just is not any available at this point in time as many are of the belief that this crisis is going to teach us all a lesson about patience and perseverance.

Let's hope and pray (yes God wants us all back on the golf course enjoying the sport we all love).

Ed's Outlook

A possible rematch between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson might also include another pair of high-profile stars from another sport.

Woods and Mickelson clashed for 36.9 million in November 2018, and earlier this week Mickelson hinted on Twitter that a rematch might be in the works as golf continues to plot its return to competition amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While Mickelson scooped the cash the first time around, the concept behind a rematch would be to raise money for charities fighting coronavirus.

Rumors are the rematch might take on a team element: namely, a partner format including Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and his retired rival, Peyton Manning. Both Brady and Manning are avid golfers, and last year Manning played with Woods during the pro-am at the Memorial Tournament. The concept would call for Woods to pair with one quarterback while Mickelson teams with the other.

According to the report, various parties are coming together to organize the match, which would be played on an unnamed Florida course instead of in Las Vegas for the first iteration. The match would be shown on regular Turner programming with advertising revenue going to charity, as opposed to pay-per-view -- the distribution option chosen for the original match which led to mass refunds. The proposed timing would be two weeks before any major league gets back to business.

To comply with social distancing guidelines, the match would reportedly be played without spectators, with all players remaining at least six feet away from one another during play.

While most professional golfers, including Mickelson, have been sidelined for weeks because of COVID-19, Woods' hiatus extends further. He has not played since the Genesis Invitational in February, having opted out of three high-profile events including The Players because of injury before PGA Tour competition ground to a halt on March 12.

The Golf and Putting tips will resume when golf courses officially open.

Stay healthy and stay safe.

Ed Townsend is a Public Relations Consultant to the sport of golf. Ed writes and compiles the information for this column. If you have league or tournament information, shoot a hole-in-one or even shoot your age, let Ed know at 845-439-8177, email at edwardctownsend@hotmail.com or fax at 845-205-4474. View this column and all of Ed's photos at http://bght.blogspot.com. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.


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