Golfers allowed back on the course under limited conditions

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 6:28 PM EDT
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(4/17/2020) - The 'Course Closed' sign will remain up; but, the Genesee County Prosecutor said that doesn't mean it's illegal for you to play golf there.

David Leyton explained owners now have the option of letting you get in a round of 18, but there are rules.

"Well, you know, golf is similar to walking outside if you're not taking a cart, you're just walking. You're essentially out for a walk," Leyton said.

It's one of the many reasons why Leyton said golfers are upset the Governor's 'Stay Home, Stay Safe' order prohibits them from playing. She extended their absence from the course to April 30th last week.

But Leyton said, the Kent County Prosecutor said he can't enforce that. So, the Attorney General took a look at the order.

"She opined that under these very restrictive situations, walk-ons in private clubs is permitted," the Prosecutor explained.

Leyton said only if they follow these rules:

- Golfers must practice social distancing,

- They have to walk the course, unless they bring their own personal cart

- Bag rooms must remain closed

- Ball washers cannot have any water in them

- And, golfers cannot touch the flag sticks on the green

If you can't abide by these rules or have symptoms of COVID-19, Leyton said don't risk your health or anyone else's.

"We've got to keep this flattening of the curve going," he said. "We've got to get rid of COVID-19; and if it means no golf, then I think that's a sacrifice that's probably a good one."

He's heard from several local private golf clubs and advised them whether they allow members to walk-on is up to them.

So, ABC12 asked even if it's difficult to trace that you caught COVID-19 on the course, won't some clubs have some legal concerns?

"Yeah, you might get a golfer, who tested positive for COVID-19. But, how do you know there aren't COVID-19 positive people walk in the aisles of the grocery stores? You don't know that and there's no way to know that," Leyton said.

As for public courses, the prosecutor said paying to play is not allowed. So they'll likely stay closed. But, he said, if a public course wants to allow people to golf for free, they can. The only problem is that course maintenance isn't allowed right now either.

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