More than a month after the remaining statewide bans on golf were lifted, over 98% of golf courses have resumed operations. So, which courses have yet to reopen?
Some noteworthy closures remain 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. The courses have been closed since March 22, leading to frustration among operators as expenses mount with no revenue coming in.
“I’m very sensitive to the fact that this pandemic is very serious and that people are sick and dying and that New York City is the epicenter of the virus,’’ Michael Tafet, who operates four NYC courses, recently told the New York Post. “But I still feel that golf can be done in New York City in a safe way — the same way it’s being done all over the country.”
In the Chicago city limits, several courses operated by the Chicago Park District remain closed although others — including those managed by the Forest Preserves of Cook County — have reopened.
In North Carolina, the Peninsula Club in Cornelius was closed temporarily on June 14 after multiple members contracted the coronavirus, the Charlotte Observer reported. When the club’s staff was informed of the possibility of exposure, more than half opted not to work, forcing the facility to temporarily suspend operations. The Peninsula Club’s president told the paper that two other clubs in the Charlotte area have also closed because of the coronavirus, but didn’t give further details.
In upstate New York, the municipally-operated Capital Hills at Albany is reopening June 16 after being closed for several months. City officials said it was most financially beneficial to keep the course closed with minimal staffing during that time, with the property open to passive recreation such as walking, hiking and dog walking.
In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, two 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 has reopened six courses over the past month, the Founders Club at Pawleys Island and Colonial Charters 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 recently 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 reopened last week after being shut down for two months but the golf course isn’t expected to be back in action until mid-June.
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 Myrtle Creek, Oregon, the city council recently approved a lease agreement to operate the former Cougar Canyon Golf Course, which closed in October 2019. There is significant maintenance work to be done prior to opening, including the mowing of rough over three feet deep, before a planned soft opening of the course on July 1.
In Denver, the City Park Golf Course is set to reopen to the public in the fall after being closed since November 2017 to implement a stormwater management system.
In Augusta, Michigan, the nine-hole Maple Hills Golf Course was 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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