Coronavirus pandemic closes Massachusetts golf courses; Gov. Charlie Baker declares landscaping as essential service

All golf courses, both private and public, are currently required to be closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, Jesse Menachem, Massachusetts Golf Association Executive Director and CEO, confirmed to on Thursday.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Authority informed Massachusetts Golf Association of the decision.

MEMA also initially suggested each facility reach out to their local government officials or departments of health to receive clearance to continue maintenance of the courses.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued a stay at home advisory and closed all non-essential businesses Monday. On Tuesday, Gov. Charlie Baker declared course landscaping is an essential service, Menachem said. So all facilities can continue to maintain their courses.

The Alliance of Massachusetts Golf Organizations sent a request to Baker’s office on Friday, March 20, trying to keep all golf operations from being included in an executive order. The request went unanswered.

The alliance sent another letter Tuesday after the executive order writing, “In response to your Executive Order issued on March 23, we are writing to respectfully request clarification for golf course maintenance as an essential and critical business activity. Although golf courses in Massachusetts have temporarily closed retail business operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, basic maintenance on the grounds cannot stop.

“Maintaining our state’s golf facilities during this critical period of potential business shut down is exactly that, an essential operation for the continued health of our community properties and the current and future health of the golf industry in Massachusetts.

“Spring is a critical time for turfgrass and it cannot be neglected for extended periods of time. If turfgrass is lost, many courses may face permanent closure.”

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