Gyms, sports leagues and high-traffic facilities have been shut down during the coronavirus crisis. But golf clubs throughout the United States have remained open, as the popular outdoor pastime can be played with limited person-to-person contact.
"I do think that golf is a relatively easy sport to socially distance while playing,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an expert in pandemic preparedness and infectious disease at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told the Associated Press. “I do think that social distancing is important but I also think that some activities can be modified to limit exposure."
Though many courses are open, many are taking precautionary measures to limit the disease's ability to spread. The AP interviewed representatives for and patrons of various locations in North Carolina, California, and Florida, noting that these measures include eliminating the retrieval of balls from cups, restricting carts to one player at a time, closing shops and clubhouses, online prepay for rounds, and regularly sanitizing equipment.
"We had 273 rounds on Wednesday," Burce Mohler, course manager at Jacksonville Beach Club in Florida, told the AP. "For 18 holes, that’s 4,914 potential touches we’re eliminating by not having to get your ball out of the cup."
Alternatively, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the closure of all public golf courses, while Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued a statewide stay-at-home order with exemptions for outdoor exercise.