Report: New Jersey golf interests petition governor to reopen golf courses

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on pro golf, shuttering all major tours for months. But recreational golf is a different story. A recent NGF report concluded that almost half of U.S. golf courses are currently open for play, and soon a majority will be welcoming golfers.

None of them are in New Jersey, though, as the state has ordered all courses closed even though courses in its neighboring states of Connecticut and New York are largely open for business. Now, the golf governing bodies of New Jersey want to change that.

According to a report from Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post, the NJ PGA, the Philadelphia PGA, the New Jersey Golf Association, the New Jersey Club Managers Association, the New Jersey Golf Course Owners Association and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of New Jersey sent a joint letter to the office of N.J. governor Phil Murphy pleading to allow golf courses to reopen.

Chris Bauer, the executive director of the New Jersey PGA, revealed the contents of the letter to the Post. In the letter, the governing bodies expressed their desire that courses would open as soon as officials deem it safe.

“Our allied associations have banded together to help industry professions make their facilities a safer place for their staff, membership and customers,” Bauer told the Post, summarizing the note to the governor. “We assured the governor that we’re not just looking to reopen, but that we will be making it safer and consistent from facility to facility.”

Governor Murphy made an executive order on March 21 shutting down all non-essential businesses and directing residents to stay-at-home whenever possible to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Unlike in New York and other states, golf courses were included in the list of non-essential businesses that were required to shut down.

Many golfers in the state were unhappy with the decision. A group of them even started an online petition pleading with Murphy to take golf courses off the non-essential list. The petition has accumulated 12,803 of the desired 15,000 signatures.

While New Jersey golfers still aren’t allowed to play, there is some hope that will change soon, with or without the letter from the state’s governing bodies. Murphy has committed to announcing a blueprint for the reopening of New Jersey later this week.

You can read Cannizzaro’s full report on nypost.com here.

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Kevin Cunningham

Golf.com Editor

As managing producer for GOLF.com, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on GOLF.com, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep GOLF.com humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.