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BREMEN, GERMANY - MAY 06: A golf ball lies next to coloured tape that marks a boundary on the fairway of the fourth hole at the Bremer Switzerland Golf Club during the coronavirus crisis on May 6, 2020 in Bremen, Germany. The club's golf course straddles the boundary between the states of Bremen and Lower Saxony, which has meant that, due to the varying lockdown measures imposed by authorities in each state, the Bremen side of the golf course is open for play while the Lower Saxony side, which includes most of the holes, is closed and off limits. Lower Saxony lockdown measures are beginning to ease and today the state has allowed to play. However, the club has decided to leave it blocked to ensure that players are better able to comply with the applicable distance rules. (Photo by Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Finally, golf is returning to Mass. after weeks of anticipation amid a statewide coronavirus shutdown.

Although Mass. governor Charlie Baker still doesn’t consider golf courses essential businesses, the state has replaced full-on shutdowns with a strict-but-doable set of health & safety guidelines for golfers and employees. The full list is below, straight from the Mass.gov website.

Since golf courses are still not considered essential businesses, there’s a limit on personnel allowed to return. Mass.gov mentions groundskeepers and security as essential types of personnel for golf courses.

Players will still need to adhere to social distancing guidelines and avoid large gatherings to continue efforts to limit the possible spread of COVID-19. Caddies and motorized carts will not be allowed, but players can walk or use pull carts. Groups can’t be larger than four, and they can’t hang out anywhere other than their cars before teeing off.

Full List: Golf Course Safety Guidelines In Mass.

— Security personnel can be delineated by each club (ex. a pro and the head starter) and will be present to enforce social distancing. There can be no other employees working at the recreational component of the golf operation.
— All staff must wear face coverings while on the property
— Club facilities including but not limited to the club house, pro shop, restaurant, bag room and locker room must remain closed
— No caddies allowed
— No golf carts allowed
— Push carts may be used. Players must either carry their own bag or use a push cart
— All golfers must maintain proper social distancing of at least 6 feet at all times
— Groups of players are restricted to no more than 4 players at one time.
— Members-only clubs can allow guests as determined by the security personnel on the golf course
— Private clubs that allow non-members to make reservations can do so at their discretion
— Maintenance personnel are permitted to work on the golf course
— Tee Time Policy must be 15 minutes between groups
— Golfers must stay in their car until 15 minutes before their tee time and must return to their car immediately following play
— Online and remote payment options must be utilized
— All golfers must use their own golf clubs. Sharing golf clubs or rental golf clubs is not allowed.
— Flag sticks must remain in the hole. Hole liners must be raised so picking a ball out of the hole doesn’t occur
— Bunker rakes must be removed, and ball washers must be removed or covered.
— Practice putting green, driving range, and chipping areas must be closed.
— Facilities must have readily accessible hand sanitizer

(Source: Mass.gov)

Golf has always been an activity that’s easy to manage, as far as sticking to health guidelines while avoiding a total shutdown of courses. People should have been allowed to golf a long time ago. It took Mass. long enough but finally we’ve joined the rest of the country.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.