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Teeing Off! Golf courses cleared to resume play with precautions

Bryan Simonik of Edinburg and his daughter, Remy, enjoy time together on the driving range at Holland Meadows Golf Course Friday morning. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Local golfers can get back on course, with some limited precautions.

The New York State Golf Association says golf courses can open for the 2020 season but golfers have to abide by CDC guidelines for safe social distancing, according to a press release on Thursday.

The NYSGA has been closely monitoring all information and updates regarding COVID-19 and the impact on the industry.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s PAUSE Executive Order went into effect on March 22 closing all non-essential businesses statewide, including golf courses.

New York courses are allowed to remain open but must implement all CDC and state-mandated guidelines, and promote safe, social distancing.

There is to be no access to pro shops, locker rooms, indoor facilities and restaurants/bars (unless for take-out purposes only). Staff cannot grant access to any of these facilities. There is to be no transactions of money, credit cards or other payment for purpose of play, equipment and/or merchandise.

Holland Meadows Golf Course announced on that its driving range would be open for golfers starting today and will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. but closed on Sunday. Starting Monday, hours will be determined by weather conditions.

The Pro Shop, Indoor Golf Facility and Bar will remain closed. The entrances will remain open with tables for service in the entrance way with manned by the pro shop staff.

Hales Mills Country Club opened for one day before the mandate went into effect.

“We will try to open this weekend, weather permitting,” Hales Mills owner Roy Dykeman said. “We will be asking golfers to call for their tee times. According to the statement, we are not supposed to accept cash, so it looks like we will be accepting payment by credit card over the phone.”

The club’s restaurant will remain open for take out and delivery order only.

Fox Run Golf Club is planning to open next week, weather permitting, after the latest snowstorm pushed back their starting date. Golfers are asked to call ahead for tee times and payment.

Golfers are asked to follow the social distancing guidelines on the golf course, including:

∫ Stay at least 6 feet away from others

∫ Don’t shake hands before or after your game

∫ Leave the flagstick in the hole

∫ Remove rakes and ball washers from course

∫ Do not share clubs or any other equipment

∫ If using a golf cart, limit to one person

Due to the unique COVID-19 precautions, the USGA has provided guidance on how to use the flexibility provided in the Rules of Golf while protecting public health.

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