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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

Questions, Answers and Insights for Everyone Interested in the Business of Golf

With 98% of Courses Open, What Remains Closed?

by National Golf Foundation

May 2020

With 98% of golf courses now open for play, the natural follow-up question is: Who’s not?

There are some noteworthy closures in major metropolitan areas, such as all 13 golf courses run by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, from Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point Park in the Bronx to LaTourette Golf Course on Staten Island. In the Chicago city limits, 11 courses operated by the Chicago Park District and three managed by the Forest Preserves of Cook County remain closed due to restrictions imposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has said she could see the city’s lakefront reopening “sometime this summer.” In the nation’s capital, Rock Creek Park will open June 5 after the other two GolfDC operated facilities reopened on May 29.

In New Orleans, one of the city’s oldest golf courses – the par-62 Golf Club at Audubon Park – has remained closed to ensure there is sufficient staff to reopen safely. The Audubon Nature Institute is projecting a loss of approximately $21 million due to the coronavirus closures and had to furlough or lay off hundreds of employees, including 53 full- and part-time staff from the golf course and clubhouse. The course is now scheduled to reopen on June 2.

In upstate New York, the situation is similar at the municipally-operated Capital Hills at Albany, which remains temporarily closed. Three employees are working to maintain the course and the city would have to reassign an additional 15 staff members to open it to golfers, so city officials say its most financially beneficial to keep it closed with minimal staffing for the time being, with the property open to passive recreation such as walking, hiking and dog walking.

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, three courses remain closed after Founders Group International – which operates 21 Grand Strand courses – shut down eight of its facilities in late March as demand dropped in the area due to the loss of golf tourism. While FGI reopened five courses over the past month, the others likely won’t reopen until visitors and package rounds return.

“Those golf courses will remain closed until we see demand in the market will dictate for us to open those up,” FGI President Steve Mays told Myrtle Beach Online. “The good thing is we are maintaining those to the point where when needed we can open those with just a few days’ notice.”

Another Myrtle Beach area course, the Members Club at Grande Dunes, has closed for a summer renovation project that includes the installation of new greens.

 

Also in South Carolina, the Charleston Municipal Golf Course remains closed amid a $2 million renovation project, its first major upgrade in almost 60 years. The project kicked into high gear in late March and grass is now growing, with the hope of having the practice facilities at least opened by July 4.

A number of resort courses also remain closed, among them SentryWorld in Wisconsin, which has set its opening date as July 6 to ensure it is providing the “healthiest, safest environment” for employees and guests. In San Carlos, Arizona, the Tom Doak-designed Apache Stronghold Golf Club hasn’t yet welcomed golfers back as the Apache Gold Casino Resort is still closed.

In San Diego, the Barona Resort & Casino is scheduled to reopen this week after being shut down for two months but the golf course isn’t expected to be back in action until mid-June. Boyne’s three Northern Michigan golf properties are reopening May 29, while the Wynn Golf Club on the Las Vegas Strip will be back in action on June 4.

A number of military-operated golf courses also remain shut down, from the 36 holes at Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina to Barbers Point Golf Course on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Other courses are closed – temporarily or longer-term – for reasons other than the pandemic.

In Augusta, Michigan, the nine-hole Maple Hills Golf Course has been put up for sale and won’t reopen at all this year. It’s a similar story in Clearwater, Minnesota, where Driftwood Golf & Fitness shut down for good in late March and is being converted to a disc golf course.

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