May 6, 2020

Golf Courses, Other Mass. Businesses Itch To Re-Open

Cara Cullen, the owner of Wachusett Country Club and the Kettle Brook Golf Club, both in central Massachusetts, caused quite the stir when she told Fox News this week that she plans to re-open her courses “in the next few days” despite a ban on businesses that aren’t considered essential.

The bold statement has made headline news, but Jesse Menachem, the executive director and CEO of Mass Golf, said he has heard from people close to Cullen since then that she’ll abide by the governor’s orders and keep the courses closed.

“We’re encouraging facilities and golfers to sit tight and remain patient ‘cause things are happening quickly and we have a lot of confidence that golf will be considered very soon,” Menachem said.

Cullen could not be reached for comment. But she isn’t the only business owner who has tried to find a way to open sooner rather than later.

According to the Boston Business Journal, the state government has issued cease-and-desist orders to more than 60 businesses that have flouted Massachusetts’ COVID-19 guidelines recently.

Golf courses have played a peculiar role in the saga: While other states haven’t shut down golf courses completely, courses in Massachusetts are still closed.

But that may change soon: Menachem said the Alliance of Massachusetts Golf Organizations gave a presentation to the Reopening Advisory Board on Saturday about why golf can be played safely, possibly even before the start of the state’s proposed re-opening.

“We felt very strong after that presentation that there was sincere interest in considering golf even before May 18,” he said. “So, we are awaiting response and we’re optimistic that golf will be considered very soon.”

He said that courses and country clubs in other states have taken added measures to increase spacing and safety among golfers. These include spacing out tee times, eliminating common touch points and using online and over-the-phone payments.

As spring creeps into summer, it’s a crucial time for the golf industry.

“We’re now in the heart of golf season. And our facility operators, owners and clubs are so reliant on the revenue,” Menachem said. “And we need to take advantage of that. So any opportunity, any day that we miss, is going to be hurtful.”

But on what was supposed to have been National Golf Day, courses in Massachusetts, like many other businesses, are still waiting for the green light to open their doors.

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