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Important update for golf courses

April 08, 2020 10:45 AM | Julie Heston (Administrator)

Below is an important message from Bob Ward, RIGA Executive Director, about new restrictions for all Rhode Island golf courses starting today Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
Thank you,
Julie Heston, Chapter Executive

Hi everyone,
I first want to thank you all for your efforts the last couple of weeks with changing rules and policies. I understand how stressful it has been. Minus a couple glitches here and there, I believe we are doing our best to represent the golf industry in a positive way.
Many of the complaints that are being received at the state level are from a non-golfing population who don't understand all the great things golf gives back to our communities in a charitable way each year and the economic impact we have with our workforce.
An explain on the situation at Triggs Memorial. The Mayor of Providence made a decision to shut down all city parks and recreational facilities. Triggs is owned by the city of Providence and operated by a management company. Triggs was not shut down for violating any of the rules and guidelines that were in place; it was strictly a citywide decision on the Mayor's part.
Now moving toward the golf season.
You will all have new restrictions starting Wednesday, April 8th which may be difficult to implement, but I believe the weather may help you get through the next couple of days in preparation for the weekend.
In order to keep golf open in Rhode Island we were asked to further safety measures to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 becomes minimal.
Here are the latest regulations which continue or start Wednesday, April 8th:

  • All previous guidelines are still in place.
  • Out of state residents are not allowed to play golf publicly or privately.
  • All food and beverage must be take out only.
  • Private club monthly food minimums. Out of state residents cannot travel into Rhode Island for takeout service. Please create policies where food minimums can be addressed.
  • Groups of five or more must not congregate anywhere on the property before or after playing according to the Governor's Executive Order.
  • Practice putting greens, driving ranges and chipping areas must be closed.
  • Groups of play are restricted to no more than FOUR players at one time.
  • Parking lots must be monitored by the club to ensure that tailgating does not happen.
  • Flagsticks must remain in the hole. It is recommended that hole liners be raised or pool noodles be added to the stick so picking a ball out of the hole doesn't occur.
  • Bunker rakes must be removed and ball washers must be removed or covered.
  • New Tee Time policy must be 15 minutes between groups.
  • Golf carts are NOT allowed.
  • Personal push carts are allowed only if brought by the golfer, club push carts are not allowed.
  • All golfers must use their own golf clubs. Sharing golf clubs or rental golf clubs are not allowed.

Please communicate with your members or customers of these new rules and add that they must stay in their car until five minutes before their tee time and go directly to the first tee.

As we prepare for what will come next, please start thinking about business plans that will get you through the season. Social gathering restrictions will continue well into the summer. Some of your normal business practices will have to be modified.
I have been in discussion with the other golf industry leaders in New England. We are jointly having discussions on creating a best practices information piece as we get into the main part of the golf season.

Realistically, we are going to have restrictions on our business models that will make running a golf course in a traditional fashion difficult.  Please feel free to communicate with me as we prepare for a difficult and trying time in our history. This is not easy or comfortable but we must follow rules and regulations to help stop the spread of this virus. 
One other bit of information is that maintenance crews are allowed to work and take care of turf. Please make sure they are following social distancing rules. They should be working in an area where groups of no more than five will gather and should not be taking breaks or lunch together.
Please be safe and remember I am only the messenger. It took a lot of work to keep us open for the near future. We are the only state in New England that has golf as an option. Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are completely shut down and Connecticut has restrictions in many of its counties.

Stay safe,


Robert Ward
Executive Director
Rhode Island Golf Association

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