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Massachusetts Becomes the Last State to Re-Open Golf Courses

At the risk of drawing the wrath of the 'Rona Shamers and the people who two months ago were working in Accounts Payable but now are experts in the field of epidemiology ... hallelujah. Massachusetts has finally done the right thing. 

We might be first among all states when it comes to things like massive public works projects that shave 10 minutes off our trip to the airport, failed presidential candidates, indicted politicians and championship Duckboat parades, but on this one we were leading from the very, very back of the line. And it made negative a million sense that we were shutting down, of all things, the one activity that is the very definition of social distancing. And anyone who argues otherwise has never played a round of golf that didn't involve an 18th hole where you try to get the ball into a clown's nose to win a coupon.

According to the state's website:

  • 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 property.
  • Course facilities including but not limited to the clubhouse, golf 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.

Fair enough. I feel a little bad for guys who need to take a cart and for the life of me can't figure out why they're not allowing them for even solo riders. But in general I prefer walking and carrying, so baby steps, I guess. The most controlling, repressive and authoritarian nanny state in the nation, my Massachutopia, finally got dragged kicking and screaming against their will to do the right thing, so this is no time to pick nits. 

Instead, I'll celebrate the people who pressured the authorities to make this a reality. Defiant, brave souls who recognize that golf is the absolutely easiest funtivity one can take part in while observing all the pandemic guidelines and were going to open with or without the Commonwealth's blessing. 

Source - The Alliance of Massachusetts Golf Organizations met with the reopening advisory board co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on Saturday. Among the people on that call was Wachusett Country Club and Kettle Brook Golf Club co-owner and director of golf Nick Marrone, representing the New England chapter of the National Golf Course Owners Association. 

Despite both sides publicly having positive comments following the meeting, Cara Cullen, a co-owner and general manager of both courses and the sister of Marrone, told Fox News and the Daily Caller on Monday that they intended to open before May 18, the expiration date for [Gov. Charlie Baker's] executive order that closed all non-essential businesses.

That's how we used to do things in Boston when a government over-enforced its power in defiance of the rights of the individual. Even in a case like this, where I'll agree the overreach was motivated by trying to do the right thing. But it was an overreach nevertheless. So people resisted. They stood up and defied the wrongness, and scored a victory for personal liberty. The good people at Wachusett, Kettle Brook and the NE chapter of the National Golf Course Owners Association forced the state's hand. A  meeting ensued, compromises were reached, cooler heads prevailed, and logic, reason and just laws rule the day. The perfect Win-Win-Win scenario.

And if you're one of those people who's going to demagogue this thing and shriek that there's no way to enforce the rules and scream about how everyone who goes out on the course is going to get too close and spread the virus and infect their grandmothers and unflatten the curve? Zip it. Enough. We know. We've heard all the rules. Six feet apart. No handshakes. We get it. It's been on every car commercial, every Public Service Announcement, every sports radio ad for penis medicines, every social media post, every press conference. Message received. We don't need to be reminded by the scolds any more. So keep the outrage to yoursevles. Everybody else, see you on the links.