COVID-19 Updates

As of April 6, 2020

Even in these unprecedented times, with the Coronavirus threat affecting all aspects of life as we know it, golf is an outlet for people to exercise and provides one of the few respites from the confines of home. With vast areas of open space containing green grass, ponds and trees, a golf course provides the ability for social distancing in a stress-free environment.

Recently, our game and business has been significantly impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19. The GAO is committed to doing all it can to support its constituents by being a resource of information and a clearinghouse of best practices that will provide guidance to any and all facilities, operators, golf professionals, club officials and stewards of the game.

Although golf, much like hiking, is widely seen as an activity that is viable and relatively low risk, there are still precautions that need to be in place to ensure the safety of players, golf course staffs and club/course officials. The following are examples being implemented at the golf course level to help ensure the regulations laid out by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) are being met:

  1. Elimination of golf carts and instituting “Walking Only” play, or restricting to one rider per cart
  2. Removal of flagsticks to avoid additional touch points or requiring flagsticks remain in the hole.
  3. Being creative with cup liners to avoid having players reaching into the hole to retrieve golf balls.
  4. Removal of bunker rakes and other on-course furniture like benches, ball washers, water coolers, etc.
  5. Installation of signage to encourage no group congregation, or limiting numbers of people in a certainarea of the club or pro shop.
  6. Continual sanitizing of counter tops, door knobs, other common surfaces, range buckets, golf carts, pushcarts, cash registers, score posting kiosks, and other frequently touched surfaces.
  7. Ensure restrooms are frequently cleaned and appropriately sanitized throughout the day.
  8. Posting professional signage to encourage compliance of CDC regulations such as no hand shaking,frequent hand-washing, etc.
  9. Having staff wear protective gloves at all times.
  10. Restricting payments to credit cards only, so no handling of cash.
  11. Eliminating scoring areas and/or modifying score card transmissions and returns between players and Committee members.
  12. Modifying driving range hitting areas to ensure a minimum 6-foot separate between players.
  13. Increasing the number of hand sanitizing stations throughout the clubhouse area and check-in areas.
  14. Increasing frequency of HVAC system filter changing.
  15. Educating staff on CDC requirements and proper hygiene and sanitation regulations.
  16. Keeping up to date on all changes that are happening daily.

We are all in this together! The Golf Alliance of Oregon is working on your behalf to help mitigate any detrimental outcomes that might occur during these extraordinarily unprecedented times. Our success depends on all of us banding together to create a synergy that will propel us beyond these dark times into prosperity.

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As of March 23, 2020

This morning’s recent Executive Order issued by Governor Kate Brown contained some conflicting information in regards to how it pertains to golf courses. Executive Order 20-12. This order puts in place a “Stay Home” directive that takes a different approach than other states with “Shelter in Place” orders. In it, the Governor lists non-essential businesses that must close and gives OHA the authority to designate other closures needed to protect public health, but there was conflicting information as it pertains to golf courses.

For further clarification, we have received the following from the Governor’s office:

“Golf is allowed as long as the social distancing measures are in place, country club activities for a gathering would not be allowed. We categorized golf similar to a hike or outdoor activity, rather than through “essential travel” which is meant to stop vacations.”

Leah Horner
Regional Solutions Director
Jobs & Economy Policy Advisor
Office of Governor Kate Brown

Although there is a general belief that golf is relatively low risk compared to other activities because recommended social distancing is fairly easy to achieve in an outdoor environment, the Golf Alliance of Oregon is not in a position to make any sort of blanket statement that speaks to the overall safety of the game, not knowing the level of contagion that might be found at any particular golf course. It is ultimately up to an individual facility to determine if golf course operations can still be managed safely while adhering to guidelines.

– The Golf Alliance of Oregon