COVID-19 and golf: LaFortune Park sale, PGA relief, courses start to shutter for good

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If your favorite pro shop is closed, do some shopping online and support your local pro and his employees. Right now the good folks at LaFortune Park in Tulsa, which is closed due to a city-wide shelter in place order, are having an online sale and you can either pick up the items or they will be mailed to you. Click HERE for men’s apparel, HERE for hats and HERE for closeouts . . .

The PGA of America has created a Golf Emergency Relief Fund to help those in the industry who have lost jobs and wages during this stressful time. The fund is designed to provide short-term financial assistance to certain individuals working in the golf industry, including PGA of America Professionals, who are facing significant financial hardship right now, including those suffering as a result of COVID-19.

For this relief effort, the PGA of America has made a lead pledge of $5 million, plus a matching fund for gifts from third parties of up to $2.5 million. The initial contribution includes every member of the PGA’s executive leadership team voluntarily reducing their compensation. Personal donations have also been made from our Board of Directors. With matching, we hope the fund grows to over $10 million

The effort is also being supported in various ways by a number of industry organizations, including the GCSAA, PGA TOUR, LPGA, USGA, NGCOA and AGM. The fund is managed by E4E Relief, an independent third-party public charity, which will provide grants to certain industry workers, including golf association members, employees of local/state golf associations, caddies and certain professionals playing on developmental tours to help offset COVID-19 related financial hardships, such as living and medical expenses. For a complete list of individuals that may be eligible, read here  . . .

For the latest on how golf is faring around the country, both the National Golf Foundation  and Golf Advisor are keeping tabs on the industry. Both report that less than 50 percent of courses in the country are open, but that includes many northern states which haven’t opened at all as yet. Click on either to see much more info from around the nation.

In its latest newsletter, industry analyst Pellucid predicts that several hundred courses across the country will never reopen due to revenue lost during enforced shutdowns, the lack of funds for future subsidies from hard-strapped municipalities and/or future revenue lost due to restrictions on food and beverage, tournament play, etc.  As if on cue, news came in this morning that Butterfield Trail, a Tom Fazio-design in El Paso, Texas, is being closed permanently to save money for the El Paso Airport, which owned the course and was subsidizing it for close to $1 million annually.

We have played Butterfield Trail and it was superb, one of the few Fazio courses in the country open to the public for a reasonable fee. It was just $45 to play for El Paso residents and $65 for visitors.

– Ken MacLeod

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source