On April 27, Governor Inslee announced the reopening of golf courses in Washington under a specific set of conditions.  Click here for the order and click here for the golf specific details.

The limited opening of golf operations was combined with the relaxation of some restrictions on outdoor recreation such as fishing, hunting, hiking and the day use of state parks and state wildlands.

Under the order golf courses may open on May 5 if they follow the state guidelines.

The order states in part:

As of April 27, 2020, in order to prepare for re-opening on May 5, 2020, all employees necessary to operate and maintain day-use activity and trails, including those in state parks and state public lands, state hunting and fishing operations, golf operations, and day-use activities and trails in other public parks and public lands are authorized to return to work; and

 As of May 5, 2020, the following outdoor recreational activities, when and where permitted, are authorized to commence so long as participants fully comply with the social distancing and coronavirus related hygiene requirements found here, such as:

  • Recreational hunting, fishing, and boating
  • Outdoor exercise, including hiking, running, walking and biking
  • Golfing
  • Day-use activities at public parks and public lands

 All other provisions of Proclamation 20-25 and 20-25.1 shall remain in full force and effect.

The Golf Alliance of Washington worked with the Governor’s staff to get us this far and it’s a nice start.  Going forward we will share the need to adapt these regulations to best serve the golf community while continuing to keep us all safe.

As you review the information, please focus on the employee health and safety links in the documents to properly care for your people.

As you work through the requirements, please notice #2 under Golf Operations requiring a log of all customers.  A big part of the mitigation strategy is the ability for contact tracing.   If your operation is reviewed for compliance, this is likely to be an important element they will review.

After you read the documents and you still have questions, there are links in the golf order to seek clarification.  Feel free to use them as it may lead to improvements for your operation.  Please share any response you receive that may be of benefit to others.

April 28 – Clarification on Instruction in Washington

One question that quickly developed was about the status of instruction.   We reached out to the Governor’s staff and were able to clarify that INDIVIDUAL instruction is permitted in accordance with this order, provided instructors are able to comply with all the applicable provisions in the order and golf-specific details referenced above.

Please read the complete golf specific information page and apply it to your process.   A couple of highlights:

  1. Individual instruction only.  No groups.
  2. Outdoor only.  Indoor will have to wait for the next phase.
  3. Maintain the required Social Distancing – both in the facility setup and in your interactions.
  4. Payments must be electronic.
  5. No touching a student’s clubs.
  6. Sanitize any teaching aids used between students.
  7. Any instructor not feeling well must stay home.

This is all just a start.  We have a great relationship with the Governor’s office and we will keep the lines open and work toward greater freedoms at the appropriate time.

May 13 – Clarifications

We received the following via email late Wednesday, May 13 confirming a number of things we have been sharing.   This information came directly from the Governors’ staff and is copied without revision.

For your information, we are planning to make some revisions to Phase 1 requirements.  These revisions will be reflected in the Phase 2 requirements, but before that is released, we are amending two here.  These amendments are effective immediately.

First, we are rescinding the prohibition of on-course waste receptacles.  We are now allowing such receptacles, but only if lids are removed.  This way, golfers will not make physical contact with the bins, and courses will no longer have to deal with excessive littering.

Second, we are modifying the “one rider per power cart” rule.  We are now allowing members of the same household to ride together.  This amendment brings the rule in line with others that allow members of the same household to travel together.
For clarification on driving ranges and golf instruction, I am duplicating my responses here so that everything is contained in a single correspondence.

Driving Ranges and Practice Areas
Standalone driving ranges, attached driving ranges, and practice areas meeting the same standards that apply to golf courses are permitted to operate.

Golf Instruction
As long as the instructor and student follow the safety measures set forth in the Golf Phase 1 Requirements, they are free to enjoy a lesson together.

We continue to work with the Governors’ office on group size during Phase I and the Phase II guidance will be released soon for the 8 counties now officially in Phase II.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Jeff Ellison, CEO