There was confusion on golf courses across Ohio when Gov. Mike DeWine announced a stay-at-home order Sunday for the state.
Were golf courses considered one of the “open recreation areas” permitted to remain open? If so, what measures would they need to keep in place for golfers and employees to comply with the order?
Then early Monday afternoon, Allen Freeman, publisher of the Northeast Ohio Golf website, reported Dan Tierney, DeWine's press secretary, confirmed that courses could remain open as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines as well as hygiene, and sanitation rules.
» CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage
Steve Jurick, executive director of the Miami Valley Golf Association, was still trying to make sense of it all on Monday, while also keeping track of which courses in the area would close and which ones would remain open.
After reading the Northeast Ohio Golf report on Twitter, Jurick shared that report on the Miami Valley Golf website and wrote, “This is not a formal declaration but we feel it is worthy of a share. Please also remember our facilities must ensure strict social distance procedures to ensure we meet and exceed standards so that we can continue to play. We are in this all together and please be patient with one another and respect the Governor’s Order!”’
Jurick said some area courses had closed before DeWine’s order. Beavercreek Golf Course closed March 17 and plans to reopen April 30. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base closed its golf operations March 18.
The City of Dayton courses announced they would close at 5 p.m. Monday until at least April 6. The Country Club of the North in Beavercreek closed Saturday for an indefinite time period.
Meadowbrook at Clayton, announced it would close beginning Monday through April 12. Walnut Grove Country Club in Dayton will close from Tuesday through April 7.
“They’re closing out of an abundance of caution,” Jurick said. “I certainly can understand that. You have employees involved. Then there’s the ability to maintain social distance.”
A number of courses in the area will remain open, Jurick said, including Heatherwoode Golf Club in Springboro and the Golf Club at Yankee Trace in Centerville. According to a message on its website, Pipestone Golf Club also planned to remain open with food and beverage service available on a delivery/pick-up basis on the course only.
» STAY-AT-HOME ORDER: What businesses are considered essential?
Windy Knoll Golf Club, in Springfield, planned to remain open, according to its website, with a limit of one foursome in the pro shop at a time.
Jurick was pleased DeWine’s order did not prohibit courses from allowing employees to continue taking care of the fairways and greens.
“If you can’t do anything for a week or two at this time of year, it’s a month or two to get back,” he said.
Some courses may not allow golf carts on the course because of hygiene issues, Jurick said. Some may require payment online to limit exposure for employees dealing with customers.
Jurick worries if the stay-at-home order is still in affect when the temperature climbs into the 70s and golfers flock to the courses, they may run into issues with social distancing. As for the financial impact the shutdown will have on the golf courses, it’s too soon to say.
“It may not affect our business all that much in some respects because the weather isn’t necessarily great,” Jurick said, “but we need to be prepared in case this crisis and stay-at-home order lasts longer than April 6.”