Let New Hampshire Golf

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While the intentions guiding the governor's COVID-19 "Stay at Home" order are commendable, it does not make sense that public parks will remain open but golf courses will be closed under this decree. Golf, by the nature of the game and with limited modifications, can comply completely with the intent of the "Stay at Home" designation. In these difficult times people need to get outside and enjoy the fresh air in order to maintain their health (physical and mental) while still following the CDC's social distancing guidelines.

Many states with Shelter in place or Stay at Home rules are allowing modified golf rounds to take place. While the resolve of leaders to halt the coronavirus is admirable, the reality is that the closure of golf courses does almost nothing to achieve this goal — a view supported by most public health experts. Amesh Adalja, a scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, explains that “adequate social distancing can be performed with golfing.” Dr. Catherine Triosi of the University of Texas, meanwhile, notes that “in the actual playing of golf, you’re not at much risk.” Dr. David Nieman of Appalachian State argues that "if you’re a golfer, I would highly recommend that you follow the hygiene rules while you golf and get out and engage in that activity" because outdoor activities like golf can "develop a stronger immune system that can help offset the effects of the coronavirus and its respiratory ills." Golf can be played — and is being played, in states such as Connecticut which have provided exceptions for golf courses — within the bounds of social distancing guidelines. 

The business and maintenance of golf courses must continue even when closed to the public as otherwise operators will "lose the course" to the elements. For them to do this without any income coming in will ruin them.  

As a solution what we ask is the following:

  • Walking is to be encouraged, however the utilization of golf carts should be limited to a single rider in each
    cart (exceptions made for family members who share a residence).
  • Tee time intervals should be no less than twelve (12) minutes between groups.
  • Clubs should encourage online payments to limit interaction between course staff and customers and avoid
    congregation in and around the clubhouse.
  • Players are prohibited from congregating on the putting green or driving range prior to their round.
  • When rounds are completed, customers must go directly to their vehicles.
  • Clubhouse areas to be closed or offer limited access and elimination of sit down food and beverage service.
  • Strict adherence to all CDC guidelines relating to responsible social distancing.

(Language adapted from Wisconsin version of this petition and the New Hampshire Golf Association.)

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