Is Mass Golf Part of the Solution or the Problem?

A sign at Gardner Municipal GC reminded golfers that the course was closed. Credit: Jay Gearan/Gardner News

BOSTON, Mass – If you’re a golfer in Massachusetts counting on your state golf association to implement a strategy to convince Governor Charlie Baker to immediately open all golf facilities in the commonwealth, I have a message for you.

Don’t be silly.

Mass Golf, formerly known as Mass Golf Association, wouldn’t know how even if they tried. And, that’s the bigger problem, the glorified golf tournament operator that caters to players with handicaps of 4 or less, have done nothing. The golf ban went into effect March 23 and that’s the date of the last communication to its 87,000-plus membership.

“You have to wonder where Mass Golf has been during this golf ban,” said Carl Abrahamson of Norwood, a dedicated public golf course player who pays Mass Golf $40 annually to maintain his USGA handicap. “They have been invisible. I got an email from them dated March 23 and nothing since. If there was ever a time to step up and do something good for the game, now is the time.”

Hope is not a strategy!

Leaked information from private sources tell New England dot Golf that Executive Director Jesse Menachem is “confused” and “operating in a conundrum” concerning a plan or lack of a plan to accomplish what 38 other states have: the ability to golf whenever they want.

Jesse Menachem, who has been employed with Mass Golf for 13 years, the last six as exective director, has come under fire from golfers throughout the commonwealth for his lack of leadership concerning advocating for lifting the government-mandated ban on golf.

Not only does Mass Golf not know what to do, they don’t know how to advocate and deliver a message to a Governor engaged in an unprecedented government overreach, that is not only bankrupting part of the $2.8 billion golf industry, but hundreds of other small and mid-sized businesses.

In an interview with Boston Herald golf reporter Keith Pearson published Monday, Menachem did not mention one step he initiated, instead offering babbling excuses that he must be “very respectful” of the government-mandated golf ban. He talked more about Rhode Island and Connecticut than his own state. The bottom line is Menachem has accomplished nothing, to the disappointment of most of the 400-plus clubs affiliated with Mass Golf.

Last Sunday the Boston Globe ran 21 pages of obituaries. Next Sunday the newspaper should print a list of businesses to be included in the business-death obituary section, due to government shutting down the economy for the past five weeks. When Mr. Baker actually sees in black-and-white the business-death directory (dominated by restaurants and many golf businesses), listed by town and industry, maybe he’ll change.

Baker is the problem!

Make no mistake who the enemy is here. What exactly does Mr. Baker not understand?

Hypocrisy in Action!
This is a photo taken March 28 at Logan Airport where immediately after announcing the New England Patriots delivered over 1 million masks, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker violates the social distancing guidelines he ordered and takes a “selfie” with a woman from Mass General Hospital. (Credit: Rabid Republican Blog

His list of essential businesses has not been adjusted since March 23. It’s troubling that the media and tens and thousands of citizens have not demanded the “essential business” list be amended. More importantly, it’s the duty of Mass Golf to step up and make the case for its 87,000 members, including making good use of over 100,000 email addresses.

Where’s the outcry from Bay State golfers? If 38 states allow golf to be played with rigorous restrictions, then why not Massachusetts? Today is the time to open all golf courses and any business that wants to. It should be the decision of the business owner, not a state employee. Playing golf during a public health crisis is endorsed by almost every medical opinion because it’s virtually impossible to spread the contagious coronavirus while outdoors, getting exercise and social distancing.

Make no mistake that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is solely responsible for ordering that golf be banned in the commonwealth through May 4 and he will make an announcement in a few days if the ban will be extended.

Agenda for opening golf!

Many have asked what role they can play to get golf up and running again. If you want to golf anytime soon in Massachusetts then get off the couch and take action today. Mass Golf and its $175,000 a-year salaried executive director (plus expenses) has failed miserably, so here are suggestions how to proceed to get our mission accomplished.

1) Email or call the Governor’s office at 617-725-4005

2) Email or call the Lt. Governor’s office at 617-725-4005

3) Sign the petition along with over 28,000 names requesting that the golf ban be lifted.

4) Call or email Mass Golf to suggest they meet with the Governor or Lt. Gov. to make the case that golf is allowed in 38 states so why not Massachusetts. 774-430-9100

5) Call or email Mass Golf demanding they draft a medically authorized declaration concluding what is fact: playing golf within social distancing guidelines is almost impossible to be contagious.

6) Call or email Mass Golf demanding they draft a written plan on the “best practice” as modeled by other states to reopen all golf facilities.

7) Call or email Mass Golf to encourage them to hire a lobbyist to sway influence with the Governor, like the successful action in Wisconsin.

8) Call or email Mass Golf to suggest a peaceful rally on the state house steps complete with attendees showing up with one club to give state government the one-club salute.

9) Call or email Mass Golf to encourage an appeal to court to lift the golf ban.

10) Demand accountability from Mass Golf to provide up-to-date information on their website and in their weekly digital newsletter, that shockingly has never discussed the golf ban.

11) Pledge in writing to follow all COVID-19 advisories including 6 feet social distancing and no more than 10 people congregating in one area.

12) Pledge in writing to follow new playing restrictions including closed clubhouse, one rider per cart, staggered tee times, no rakes, inverted cups and no contact with playing partners.

13) Call or email Mass Golf asking if they feel the pain and why there have been no layoffs or furloughs since their golf calendar is almost completely blank up until July.

14) If a golf course is on the brink of financial ruin, then invoke the “financial hardship” clause and open for business on May 5.

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