By Ken MacLeod
All golf courses in Tulsa and public courses in Oklahoma City and Edmond are currently closed, but most of the nation’s courses remain open according to three groups tracking the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on golf across the country.
The National Golf Foundation has a new website devoted to tracking course closures. The site was out-of-date as soon as it went live, of course, because these things are changing by the minute. But as a general guide, it shows what the state of the game looked like at least a day or two ago.
The Golf Course Superintendents Association is also closely monitoring the different reactions across the country. It’s updated state-by-state list shows the few states that have closed all courses while most are a mixed bag or completely open. You can view that list here.
Golf Advisor is also monitoring the situation nationwide and has a host of links to stories about the situation in each state. View that here.
It appears that 12 states have shut down all golf courses while some have shut them down only to reopen. While golf seems uniquely suited – given the precautions now standard at most courses – to provide a safe relief from countless hours at home, there is obviously still a risk of transmission if you play with someone infected and get too close.
Most golf courses outside of those mandated to close by the recent executive orders issued in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Edmond are remaining open as of Tuesday. Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club, one of the state’s premier courses, is celebrating a reopening today of its renowned Perry Maxwell layout after being closed since Feb. 3, 2019 for a huge renovation and restoration by architect Tripp Davis. Just outside of the Tulsa city limits golf is being played at public and private courses in Broken Arrow, Owasso, Claremore, Sapulpa and other locales.
It’s a mixed message locally and nationally. Many advocates believe golf is one of the safest activities you can engage in and provides much needed mental health as well as physical benefits during this pandemic. On the other hand, there is no arguing that staying at home is ultimately safer for the individual and the collective society. Where do you draw the line? The entire country is grappling with that question. According to the charts above, most believe the risk of transmission at a golf course using proper precautions is so low as to be negligible.