St Augustine, Florida, United States: As part of an industry-wide collaboration to lead the responsible return of golf in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the game’s allied organisations have established ‘Back2Golf’, a plan outlining operational guidelines for golf’s 16,000-plus facilities in America that adhere to nationally established protocols and best practices.
After review from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), golf leaders and medical experts, the game’s national organisations have adopted a three-phase approach for golf’s careful reopening, focused on prolonged social distancing and enhanced sanitisation practices.
Using measures set by the CDC and The White House ‘Guidelines for Opening Up America Again’ plan, the recommendations will progress at various paces depending on geographic location.
“The Back2Golf Playbook and Guidelines that the PGA of America and golf’s allied organisations have put together are both comprehensive in nature and, most importantly, lay out a responsible way to get back on the golf course,” said Dr Bradley Connor, clinical professor of medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College and an attending physician at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell campus.
He added: “The guidelines emphasise social distancing and other preventative measures in alignment with the plan established by The White House and CDC. Golf is a terrific recreational outlet that offers a number of physical and mental health benefits.
“While we all must remain vigilant and continue to take precautions, this plan allows golf to be played in keeping with social distancing best practices. I applaud the golf industry for helping to be part of the solution to get us back outdoors in a healthy and responsible manner.”
This industry-wide initiative has been primarily focused on ensuring golf courses that have remained operational or will reopen soon, do so responsibly to protect golfers, employees and all members of the community. Each organisation has distributed ‘Back2Golf Guidelines’ and the corresponding ‘Operations Playbook’ to its respective audiences to implement and administer. Updates will be made as interim guidance on Covid-19 is issued by the CDC.
“The importance of social distancing and responsible behaviour during this pandemic has become a part of everyone’s daily life,” said Seth Waugh, Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of America, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation. “Re-opening golf responsibly under strict social distancing practices is something we can all unify behind. While we recognise there is no perfect solution and various areas of the country will progress in these phases at a different pace, it is imperative that we re-open golf in a way that prioritises the health and well-being of the entire golf community.”
Back2Golf is driven by key stakeholders of WE ARE GOLF, a division of the World Golf Foundation created in 2010 to spearhead initiatives on behalf of the game. Organisations include the PGA of America, USGA, PGA Tour, LPGA, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), and Club Management Association of America (CMAA), among others.
“Golf inherently provides many health and fitness benefits, including the opportunity to spend time outdoors with family and friends, which is needed now more than ever,” said Greg McLaughlin, Chief Executive Officer of the World Golf Foundation. “It is a sport that naturally lends itself to social distancing and the ‘Back2Golf’ guidelines.
“We greatly appreciate the collaboration between all the allied golf organisations. It represents another example of our industry coming together for the greater good as our game has done so many times before.”
For more information, visit www.wearegolf.org/back2golf