BOSTON, Mass – Under normal circumstances during the second weekend in April the sports world is obsessed with the Masters. Due to COVID-19 there’s nothing happening at Augusta National since the 84th edition of golf’s grandest stage has been postponed to November 12-15.
If you’re smitten with Masters fever you can go to Golf Channel anytime or Masters-rewind or turn on CBS TV Saturday April 11 to watch the final round of 2004 won by Phil Mickelson, or Sunday April 12 watch the rerun of 2019 won by Tiger Woods.
Since March 23rd not a day goes by when I don’t dream about pulling the cover off my Tour Edge Exotics Driver, stepping between two yardage markers, place a spanking-new PRO V1 on a tee and swinging as hard as I can only to see a drive go 225-yards… sideways!
Yes, that’s my idea of fun! I know that opening-day is coming soon and I can’t wait. Never has the compulsion to make a double-bogey been so enticing. In golf-starved Massachusetts there’s a ban on golf and there’s only one person stopping me and 50,000 other golfers in the Bay State from doing what we love to do, particularly starting on Masters weekend!
The temptation to call Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker a few choice names is problematic in these uncertain times of the “ChiCom Virus” crisis. By banning golf Baker is overly-cautious while is solely responsible for bankrupting many golf courses and golf-industry companies.
Massachusetts is one of only 13 states prohibiting golf. Oddly enough, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont embrace the ban, while Connecticut and Rhode Island have tee sheets filled daily. Mr. Baker has ignored a Change.org petition signed by over 25,000 golfers asking for modification. He is ignorant concerning responding daily pleas from 17 golf organizations seeking relief.
“All of our organizations have aligned on the notion of being patient with advocacy and action directed towards our Governors on behalf of the golf industry,” states Jesse Menachem in a memo dated April 10 on behalf of the Allied Golf Association of New England/Northeast. “We have the bulk of our season ahead of us and patience will be vital as we look to protect the summer and fall months of play and activity.”
The 17 golf organizations include: Mass Golf, New England Section of the PGA of America, Connecticut Section of the PGA of America, Northeast New York Section of the PGA of America, New England Golf Course Owners Association, Golf Course Superintendents Association of New England, Golf Course Superintendents Association of Cape Cod, Golf Course Superintendents Association of New Hampshire, Golf Course Superintendents Association of Rhode Island, New England Chapter, Club Management Association of America, New England Golf Association, New Hampshire Golf Association,Vermont Golf Association, Rhode Island Golf Association, Connecticut State Golf Association, Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund and PGA TOUR.
As weather conditions improve over the next few weeks of April and the impact of the crisis diminishes, Mr. Baker and the Governors of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont should listen to the request from this sterling collection of business professionals to allow golf to be played within Center for Disease Control guidelines!
A Statement from the Allied Golf Associations of New England/Northeast
Over the past several weeks, affiliate golf organizations – representing all six New England States and beyond – have been working in collaboration to represent the best interests of not only golf facilities and courses but individual golfers as well during the pandemic of COVID-19.
We have lobbied and advocated within our jurisdictions with varying levels of success and progress. As of this week, only Connecticut and Rhode Island are allowing golf to be played under very specific guidelines and restrictions. These guidelines and restrictions are changing daily. Fortunately, all six states are permitted to conduct essential course maintenance.
Parts of the Northeast region are nearing the peak of COVID-19 cases, hospitals are unable to keep up with the crisis and we are being instructed to stay home/limit any outside activity. In light of all this and through the group’s continued weekly communication, all of our organizations have aligned on the notion of being patient with advocacy and action directed towards our Governors on behalf of the golf industry.
As a unified group, our collaboration has been strong in the Northeast. We are taking steps to develop best practices and roadmaps for facilities and golfers once the all clear is given and we can safely return to golf within the region. We have also had extensive conversations with government relations lobbyists and their recommendation has been to remain patient and united, a true reflection of the group’s work to date.
We will continue under that guidance as we all want what is best for golf. We have the bulk of our season ahead of us and patience will be vital as we look to protect the summer and fall months of play and activity.
Please join us in our collective effort to abide by and respect each individual state’s guidelines set forth by their respective governors. For those who do not currently have access to golf in their state, please Stay Home, Stay Healthy and Save Golf!
New England Section of the PGA of America
Connecticut Section of the PGA of America
Northeast New York Section of the PGA of America
New England Golf Course Owners Association
Golf Course Superintendents Association of New England
Golf Course Superintendents Association of Cape Cod
Golf Course Superintendents Association of New Hampshire
Golf Course Superintendents Association of Rhode Island
New England Chapter, Club Management Association of America
New England Golf Association
New Hampshire Golf Association
Vermont Golf Association
Rhode Island Golf Association
Connecticut State Golf Association
Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund