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Lofaro Scores First Ace

Ed Townsend - Columnist
Posted 4/23/20

They are playing golf elsewhere in the country and former Liberty resident Michael Lofaro of Hendersonville, NC is taking advantage of it, having scored his first career hole-in-one at the …

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Lofaro Scores First Ace

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They are playing golf elsewhere in the country and former Liberty resident Michael Lofaro of Hendersonville, NC is taking advantage of it, having scored his first career hole-in-one at the Hendersonville Crooked Creek Golf Course on April 11.

Michael is well-known in the Liberty-Sullivan County golfing circles having been a member of the former Grossinger's men's league and a golfer in the annual Sullivan County Democrat Golf Tournament.

Michael and his wife, Debra, lived in the Liberty area for some 25 years and relocated to Hendersonville five years ago.

Michael is the son of Joan Tursi while Debra is the daughter of the late and former mayor of Liberty Marv Magid.

Michael's ace took place while playing with several friends on the 140-yard 15th hole, using a nine iron.

The 62-year-old Lofaro has been playing the game of golf for some 38 years and presently does not play in any leagues but does compete in the Carolina Golf Association SR 4-ball tournaments that take place from March to December.

Michael presently plays to a 5 handicap and he and his partner have won several times in the tournament style events which took them to Myrtle Beach for the championship where they captured third place.

Michael and Debra say they love the climate in Hendersonville which is located in the western section of North Carolina about half an hour south of Asheville.

Michael is employed as a financial counselor at the Mission Hospital while Debra is following in the footsteps of her father as an insurance agent with an agency in Hendersonville.

Ed's Outlook

The PGA Tour is expected to announce soon that it will resume the 2020 season with the Charles Schwab Challenge on June 11.

The Tour suspended operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic after the first round of The Players Championship last month, and canceled all future events across all Tours through the AT&T Byron Nelson in May. All four major championships have either been postponed to the fall or canceled.

The Charles Schwab Challenge was initially scheduled to take place from May 21-24. It is now going to take the RBC Canadian Open's slot on the schedule in June instead. That event will not be played, per the report.

Fans will not be allowed to attend the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, either…a policy that will likely be implemented for the first several events.

The Tour has an opening on its schedule immediately after the Charles Schwab Challenge from June 18-21, when the U.S Open was initially scheduled to take place. According to Golf Digest, the RBC Heritage is likely to be played that weekend instead.

The Tour schedule is then expected to look like this: June 25-28: Travelers Championship; July 2-5: Rocket Mortgage Classic; July 9-12: John Deere Classic; July 16-19: Memorial Tournament; July 23-26: 3M Open; July 30-Aug. 2: World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational; July 30-Aug. 2: Barracuda Championship; Aug. 6-9: PGA Championship; Aug. 13-16: Wyndham Championship.

The three FedExCup Playoffs events will start one week after the Wyndham Championship, with the Tour Championship ending on Sept. 7 -- a Monday finish on Labor Day. The U.S. Open was rescheduled to take place on Sept. 17, one week before the Ryder Cup. The Masters will then close our the year starting on Nov. 12 at Augusta National.

The LPGA is planning to restart its season the week of June 15 with the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

It's not clear how many of the Tour's rescheduled events will take place without fans in attendance. The Tour has also said that it will expand tournament fields where possible to allow for as many players to compete and attempt to make up for lost time.

While a lot can change between now and the Tour's restart date that could alter its plans, golf is likely to be one of the first sports that is logistically able to resume play. If done without fans, ensuring that players, caddies and a limited number of officials keep their distance from one another outside on a golf course is very realistic.

Membership Must Walk Their Courses

The NYSGA has been closely monitoring all information and updates regarding COVID-19 and the impact the situation has on the golf industry. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York State on PAUSE Executive Order, which has been in effect since Sunday, March 22. “All non-essential businesses statewide will be closed, non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are canceled or postponed at this time, and any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced.” This order had been extended until May 15.

The latest Empire State Development Guidance on Executive Order 202.6 last updated on April 17, and currently reads: “However, golf courses are not essential and cannot have employees working on-premise; notwithstanding this restriction, essential services, such as groundskeeping to avoid hazardous conditions and security, provided by employees, contractors, or vendors are permitted and private operators may permit individuals access to the property so long as there are no gatherings of any kind and appropriate social distancing of six feet between individuals is strictly abided.”

The New York State Club Association was asked to contact New York State for clarity and confirmation of the meaning of the new language. To that end, the following was reviewed and approved by New York State on April 18.

There can be no employees working at the recreational component of the golf operation with the exception of security personnel. Security personnel can be delineated by each club (ex. A pro and the head starter) and will be present to enforce social distancing. No access is permitted to club facilities including but not limited to the club house, pro shop, bag room and locker room. No caddies. No golf carts (except pull carts).

You must either carry your own bag or use a pull cart. All golfers must maintain proper social distancing at all times, this is mandatory, no exceptions. Allowing guests is to be determined by the security personnel on the golf course. Maintenance personnel are permitted to work on the golf course. Clubs are strongly advised to provide a printed copy of the new guidance to security personnel, as local law enforcement may come to a club and may not be aware of the new guidance.

Due to the unique COVID-19 precautions taking place at golf courses around the country, the USGA has provided guidance on how to use the flexibility provided in the Rules of Golf while protecting public health. They also provided temporary guidance on posting scores to GHIN (began in upstate New York on April 15), specifically when golfers don't hole out for health/safety reasons.

In regards to the upcoming NYSGA tournament season, no Championships have been postponed or canceled at this time. Club staff will continue to monitor public health developments and evaluate as necessary.

Seminars on the Rules of Golf and World Handicap System will not be offered at member clubs this spring, due to the current status of COVID-19.

Although the New York State Golf Association (NYSGA) offices are closed until further notice, the staff will continue to work remotely during normal business hours. Please reach out directly and leave a message by calling the offices at (315) 471-6979.

The golfing and putting tips will resume when the local golf courses open for total play.

Villa Roma Open

The Villa Roma Golf Course will be open for this Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. Call for Tee times (845-887-5097). Fee is $15 for 9 holes and $30 for 18 holes.

Tarry Brae Opens

Friday Carts Included

The Tarry Brae golf course will open Friday morning, call ahead for tee-time, walk-ins welcome but you will be served on first come basis. Telephone (845) 434-2620.

Rules you will have to follow…you will be asked to pay via touch-free transaction by credit card or debit card only.

Club house will remain closed. Do not touch flag pole, maintain social distancing and only one golfer per golf cart.

Golf fees are $25 per golfer for 18 holes, golf cart included.

ED TOWNSEND is a Public Relations Consultant to the sport of Golf and brings over 60 years of sports journalism experience in writing and compiling the information for this column. When leagues open up please send league and tournament information to Ed at 845-439-8177, email to bght75@gmail.com or fax at 845-205-4474. View this column and Ed's photos at http://bght.blogspot.com We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

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