An opportunity to lead by example

An opportunity to lead by example

NGF’s Beditz weighs in on “new normal,” noting that almost four-fifths of U.S. golf facilities are opened.

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All but three states now allow golf as a safe, outdoor activity for their residents and 79 percent of golf facilities in the country are open for play as of the first weekend of May, according to National Golf Foundation president and CEO Joseph F Beditz.

“But having almost 80% of courses open for play is not the same as a ‘green light’ for golf,” Beditz wrote. “It’s much more of a ‘yellow light.’ There are still serious restrictions — for operators and golfers alike — including many state mandates prohibiting pro shops from opening, banning the use of golf carts, or restricting food and beverage operations.

“In a state like New Jersey with 16-minute tee time intervals and twosomes, that’s eight people on the golf course an hour. That’s not yet ‘open’ and golf is probably being provided ‘below cost’ in some places where revenues are restricted to greens fees only.”

Beditz posed the question whether golfers would follow the trend of accelerated retain openings in certain areas across the country. 

“As I’ll continue to say, golf has an opportunity to lead by example, showing it can be played safely and responsibly in the midst of a pandemic,” he wrote. “Course owners and operators need to keep following local rules and adjusting to our ‘new normal.’ And we need to continue to remind golfers that they’re playing before the biggest gallery of their lives, as well-publicized screwups could turn the yellow lights back to red.”