Survey: 90% of U.S. courses will be open by May 17

National Golf Foundation Golf Course Growth

The most recent National Golf Foundation (NGF) weekly survey on the current wellbeing of the U.S. golf industry ending May 3 found 47 states are now allowing golf as an acceptable outdoor activity. The number of U.S. golf facilities open for play has risen to 79%. Golf continues to be a leading indicator for the rest of the country reopening, as CNN reports at least 43 states will have completely or partially reopened retail businesses by May 10.

Much of the gain came over a 10-day span prior to the first weekend in May, as eight states with more than 3,500 courses combined – Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – all clearing golf facilities to reopen after previously restricting play.

The May 4 poll did not include recent course openings in New York, California and Hawaii. All three states have recently eased restrictions. The state of Washington got the okay to open its approximately 275 courses on May 5. With the number of openings growing and restrictions continuing to abate, the NGF projects 90% of all U.S. golf facilities will allow play by May 17.

In California, home the second-greatest number of U.S. courses, there is an increase among counties continuing to ease golf restrictions. Outside of Los Angeles County, most Southern California counties now allow play. In Northern California, six San Francisco Bay area counties cleared golf to resume on May 4.

Many golf state mandates prohibit pro shops from opening, ban golf cart usage, and are restricting food and beverage operations. For example, New Jersey has stipulated 16-minute intervals between “twosome only” tee times.

However, the NGF cautions its members that the state of the golf industry is currently a "yellow light" as opposed to “green.” If further recommends course owners and operators to continue to strictly adhere to local requirements and restrictions.

The NGF also found nearly half of core golf consumers expressed concern with returning to pro shops and golf retail outlets. Ten percent were “very concerned” about visiting pro shop and golf retail outlets, 37% were “somewhat concerned, 41% “not too concerned,” and 12% “not concerned at all.”

About the Author
David Wood is an author, world traveler and former stand-up comedian with several David Letterman Show appearances under his belt. A few years back, he took a one-year sabbatical to travel to exotic golf locales around the globe. He turned the adventure into the critically acclaimed book Around the World in 80 Rounds.” His new golf video blog “Have Clubs Will Travel” is featured on The Morning Read. He resides in New York City.