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COVID-19 Best Practices


Member shared best practices across the Section while we work to create Safe Compliant Outdoor Recreation for Everyone! Best Practices

Golf Course Maintenance Best Practices & Golf Operations Recommendations for your facility.

Allied Association Resources

Organizations such as the NCA, NGCOA, NGF, CMAA, and more have insights and education to offer you. Best Practices

Golf Course Maintenance Best Practices

Below is a list of best management practices to ensure our golf course maintenance teams operate safely in the current environment with heightened concerns surrounding COVID-19.  As we continue to operate in these challenging times, these practices will ensure a safer work environment for team members. Team members must self-monitor. If a team member feels sick or has any of the symptoms, they are not to report to work and should call a manager on duty.

Maintenance Facility – Shop Area

  • Staggered start times for staff/split shifts to limit the numbers at arrival, team meetings, at lunch break, and departure times.  No one is to congregate in groups.
  • To ensure appropriate social distancing rules of 6 feet or more between all employee’s, staff meetings to be held in open air space such as parking lot or large storage bays.
  • No visitors will be allowed on or within the golf course maintenance facility.  This includes outside distributors and manufacturer representatives. Meetings can be held via telephone, hangouts meet, zoom or other platforms.
  • Discontinue use of time clock. Time sheets used for all employees.
  • All employees required to wash hands for 20 seconds prior to the start of their shift, before and after the lunch break, and prior to departing for the day.
  • Locker room facilities to be cleared of all belongings.  Additional uniforms, gear and all belongings can be kept in personal vehicle on-site.  No personal belongings allowed to be stored on-site.
  • Breakroom facilities common use items (i.e. coffee pots, vending machines, refrigerators and microwaves) have been suspended.  Coolers are suggested for meals and personal beverages and stored in personal vehicle.
  • Secondary break and lunch area set up to allow for greater social distancing.
  • No employees other than Equipment Managers are permitted in mechanics area.  Equipment Managers should take all necessary precautions to ensure all tools and key touch points are cleaned and wiped down regularly (i.e. grinders, workbenches and commonly used tools).  All mechanics should always use good hand hygiene and wear protective latex gloves during work hours.
  • Management to set guidelines for cleaning facilities three times daily (In morning after staff arrivals and teams depart to golf course, after lunch hour and at the end of the shift once everyone has departed for the day.  Focus on all key touch points (door knobs, restrooms, tables, chairs, sinks, computers/keyboards etc.)
  • Key staff members who are responsible for specific areas such as Irrigation Foreman and Application Foreman need to be responsible for all inventories and cleanliness of respected areas.  Other team members (outside of management) will not be allowed in designated areas without specific permission.

On Course Work Environment

  • Maintain social distancing of a minimum of 6 feet at all times.
  • Disposable protective gloves worn and changed out when necessary.
  • Equipment such as carts and radios will be assigned.  Protocols for cleaning all touch points on all equipment put in place immediately.  Staff to be responsible for disinfecting equipment prior to and periodically during operation.  Disinfectant at key tool stations will be available for staff to wipe down tools prior to and after use. (i.e. shovel, rakes, fuel cans, cup cutters etc.)
  • Break crews up into pods of front nine crew and back nine crew. Remain in these pods as much as possible to reduce interaction of entire crew.
  • Training on various equipment will be done with social distancing. When possible equipment training will be done by mirroring, with the trainer and trainee each working with their own identical piece of equipment to eliminate the need for sharing equipment in close proximity.

End of Shift Procedures

  • Staff to be responsible for disinfecting equipment post operation.  Disinfectant at key tool stations will be available for staff to wipe down tools prior to and after use. (i.e. shovel, rakes, fuel cans, cup cutters etc.)
  • Each shift will leave property immediately after their shift.
  • Each team member will be reminded of the importance of social distancing away from the job as well as on the job

Note: The above best practices have been provided by PGA Properties.

From the Golf Course Superintendents of America (GCSAA): COVID-19 Pandemic Resources

Golf Operations Recommendations

Action Steps

  • Convene or form a facility safety committee. All face-to-face and meetings should follow social distancing suggestions. Hold these meetings in bigger rooms where the team is standing apart from one another.
  • Suggest screening staff each day. Staff members with flu-like symptoms should be asked to go home.   
  • Appoint one facility team member to be the point of contact regarding questions or concerns for COVID-19.
  • Send a notice to membership/guests regarding COVID-19 concerns and actions taken. This includes CDC best practices the facility is following and notification that the facility is closely monitoring and following all restrictions imposed by federal, state, and local governments.

Actions Specific to Golf/Club Operations

  • Visit the USGA Rules and Handicapping Guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic by clicking here.
  • Frequent cleaning/sanitizing of high touch areas in offices, including doors, phones, keyboards and counters.
  • Frequent cleaning/sanitizing of golf car high touch areas (i.e. steering wheels, cup holders, seats). Consider having sanitizer wipes available for golfers in the golf cars.
  • All cart attendants should wear disposable protective gloves and face-masks to attend to guests.
  • Space golf cars in staging area (i.e. further apart to accommodate appropriate social distance of six feet or more). Allow one person to ride per cart if requested.
  • Golf bag must remain in the golfer’s possession at all times. After play, no staff member should handle bag. Recommend keeping in car or at home.  It should not be returned to the bag room.
  • It would be helpful for larger staff sizes to have staggered start and end times for the day, as well as staggered lunch and break schedules.
  • Staff levels appropriate to facility activity. (i.e. fewer staff when possible to limit possible exposure).
  • Follow local restrictions for the size of your golf groups, but space carts out with six feet minimum buffers between. Consider boxed meals placed on the carts instead of gathering in the clubhouse; awards ceremonies and gathering of groups should follow local restrictions. If allowed, adhere to proper spacing.
  • In extreme areas of caution, consider having a health provider take the temperature of guests/members and not allowing them onto the facility site if the temperature was over the acceptable reading. (This has state and employee consent requirements.)
  • All bathrooms wiped down and cleaned every few hours. Hand sanitizers available in every bathroom.
  • Caddies need to wear gloves and should not touch grips.
  • Walking should be encouraged.
  • Based on local situations, consider shutting down Locker room amenities  including steamers, spas, showers.
  • Based on local situations, Fitness facilities should be limited or closed.  Wipe down after each use.
  • Restaurants (where available) should REMOVE tables to allow appropriate social distancing.
  • No buffets – take out food or box lunches only.
  • Beverage cart operations should be single servings (no mixing) – Beverage cart drivers must wear gloves (as with all FB staff)
  • Golf and caddie staffs should be provided areas where social distancing can be accomplished.
  • Employers should consider laundering uniforms so as not to rely on staff.
  • Consider remote check in. Especially at Member Clubs. If remote check in is not possible, restrict the gathering place in the golf shop. Consider a line that keeps six feet between the check in counter and the next guest.
  • Golfers should be asked if they would like to be paired together, not forced to be paired together. Smaller groups other than foursomes should be allowed. Offer one cart per person.
  • Sanitize water coolers/water dispensers multiple times per day. Consider offering chilled bottled water to replace on course water coolers/water dispensers.
  • Modify flagsticks and cups on the golf course:
    • Flagstick cup liners can be elevated two to three inches above the surface of the putting green and players putt to the cup liner rather than allowing the ball to go into the hole thus eliminates the need to remove the flagstick.
    • Flagsticks removed from play, cups turned upside down in the green to prevent the ball from entering the cup and hole location sheets provide for players.
    • Foam water noodles cut to fit around the flagstick and fill the cup to avoid having to remove the ball from the cup.
    • If flagsticks are left in play be sure to sanitize them multiple times per day.
  • In our continued effort to provide sanitary conditions on all golf courses, remove bunker rakes. All bunkers can be raked in the morning and Members/Guests can play in the bunker with a preferred lie. We encourage foot raking of any shot to provide a better lie for the next group coming through after.
  • Post signage and implement practices advising NOT to remove the flagstick; or cut a second cup within close proximity to the flagstick to allow the flagstick to be kept in place.
  • A “gimme” circle painted around the cups (2 feet) to allow golfers to pick up versus put their hand in the cup to retrieve their ball.
  • Practice facility set up should be at every other spot and people may have to wait. Same with lessons. Instructors/coaches should tell their students that they will have a minimum of 10 feet of social distance or a private area for instruction (golf lessons should not be impacted as these are single transactions and adequate social spacing is easily provided).
  • Sanitize on course ball wash units multiple times per day.
  • Increased cleaning/sanitizing of on course restroom facilities.
  • Remove all common use distribution of such items as tees, scorecards, pencils, ballmarkers, etc. Distribute these items to golfers in plastic bags to avoid multiple touches.

Actions Specific to Club Food & Beverage

These are much more closely regulated by state and local authorities. We recommend following the guidance of the National Restaurant Association regarding the operations of all F&B at your facility.


Do what is right. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Your business will be much more profitable long term if you work with your clients in these troubling times.

  • Offer full cancellation credits for use at your facility in the future.
  • Federal and state relief resources for small businesses.

General Actions to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19

  • Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands! Don’t touch your face.
  • Install hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility with member/guest activity (i.e. clubhouse, admin offices and locker rooms).
  • Institute more frequent and thorough cleaning procedures for high touch areas (i.e. door knobs, light switches, tables, chairs, etc.).
  • Educate members/guests and staff as to the protocol of social distance, hand washing and other best practice recommendations put forth by the CDC.
  • Encourage facility members/guests and staff to recognize proper social distance of six feet or more from others to limit physical contact such as handshakes.
  • Encourage members/guests and staff members who do not feel well to stay home.
  • Bartenders, Golf Shop staff, cashiers must use hand sanitizer between transactions.

Allied Association Resources

You can listen to previous Coronavirus Town Halls AT THIS LINK. They have hosted many so this is a great resource! Some recent ones include:

Planning and Budgeting in Times of Uncertainty (aired 4/9) View presentation slides

Frank Vain, President of McMahon Group, Inc. and Ray Cronin, Founder & Chief Innovator of Club Benchmarking will discuss club budgeting and planning strategically during a crisis.

Club Leadership for Tough Times (aired 4/2) View presentation slides

Hear how board leadership and management of one of the world’s best clubs are dealing with today’s pressing issues. Nicholas Sidorakis, GM at Southern Hills Country Club, and Bryan Johnson, Southern Hills Board President, will discuss how they are navigating the everyday challenges of this crisis while focusing on the future well-being of Southern Hills Country Club. 

Experts: Henry DeLozier and Patrick DeLozier of GGA Partners

Nicholas Sidorakis, GM at Southern Hills Country Club, and Bryan Johnson, Southern Hills Board President

Minimal Golf Course Maintenance (aired 4/1)

“Maintaining golf courses during a voluntary shut down, involuntary shut down, or an imposed stay in place order”

Experts: Robert M. Randquist, CGCS,  Chief Operating Officer, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

Shelia Finney, Sr. Director, Member Programs, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

PARK and PLAY Program: Making Your Course Social Distance Ready
NGCOA feels it’s important to support public health and safety initiatives. So to adhere to the so­cial distancing requirement, we’ve created this list of measures you can take to implement a “Park and Play” program at your course. The Park and Play program gives your golfers confidence that they can drive to your course, park their cars, get to and around the course, and back to the parking lot in as safe an environment as possible.
These measures align with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “social distancing” and sanitation practices, and have been reviewed and approved by a phy­sician at the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Once adopted by your staff and your customers, these measures will allow your course to continue operations, help the public feel more comfortable, and set expectations on near term limitations during this trying time.
·       Encourage golfers to pay in advance over the phone with a credit card, show up to a pre-positioned sanitized cart, and proceed to the first tee without personal contact.
·       Recommend all customers update credit card information on file and book tee times or order food and beverage services DIRECTLY with the club via PHONE during the social distancing period.
·       Place appropriate signage outside the pro-shop and clubhouse entries briefly outlin­ing the social distancing guidelines in place.
·       Place appropriate signage on carts and around the clubhouse with the phone number to call in food orders with an explanation that credit card transactions are requested.
·       Eliminate sit-down food and beverage services. Use “call-ahead,” “take-out, and/or “to go” services only. Consider delivery as an option from the beverage cart, or an ad­ditional golf cart if feasible.
·       Provide protective gloves to all staff handling cash or credit cards during all transac­tions.
·       Consider increasing your tee time intervals to spread players out on the course.
·       Direct players to leave the pin in the cup at all times. You can also raise the cup up an inch above the green surface and count it when the ball hits it. This is a good time for “gimmies.”
·       Follow all guidance to not exceed gathering limits established by local and state au­thorities.
·       Conduct no indoor events if possible.
·       Remove ball washing stations or place out of usable areas.
·       Remove all trash cans from the golf course.
·       Remove rakes from the course and temporarily play these areas as non hazards. Put a local rule in place that permits placing your golf ball in any bunker on the course.
·       Spread out driving range stations to separate customers.
·       Remove all water stations from the course and either provide bottled water or advise them to purchase beverages prior to tee off.
·       Remove bulk scorecard, pencil and tee holders from starter areas. Only issue when requested.
·       After play, ask golfers to go directly to their carts and park them in designated areas.
·       Ask your customers to personally dispose of any trash they may have in the nearby receptacles.
·       Update your website to indicate you are participation in the “Park and Play” program.
Preparing Your Facility
·       Eliminate walk-up tee times and require tee times be made in advance, while encour­aging advance pay. Update your website to indicate this.
·       Provide clear professional signage informing guests of operational changes and en­courage recommended sanitation practices.
·       Increase the frequency of routine cleaning, sanitization and disinfection of all loca­tions, especially all common and high traffic areas, and frequently touched surfaces.
·       Increase the number of hand sanitizer stations throughout the clubhouse, especially entry points and lobby.
·       Increase frequency of HVAC system filter changing, and schedule more frequent cleaning of the system.
·       Do not provide rental clubs during this period but, if necessary, ensure sanitation pri­or to issuance.
·       Remove all non-essential devices from the range, such as bag stands or den caddies. Place balls on the range for your customers so they can be accessed using a club.
·       Remove all merchandise items, normally smaller accessories, from your counter and place them out of reach of any customers that may be inside.
·       Minimize indoor seating in bar and restaurant as these seating should be limited and spread out for those awaiting “to go” orders only.
·       Ensure golf carts and other rental equipment are properly sanitized prior to issuing to customers.
·       Ensure approved antimicrobial products are used for all sanitation procedures.
·       Disconnect or remove water dispenser/coolers; this includes on-course units unless they offer foot control activation. Consider providing bottled water to players.
·       Remove sand containers, coolers or anything from a golf cart that could be “shared.” This includes scorecards, tees, pencils and towels – these items should not be of­fered during this time.
Short Game and Putting Practice Areas: Remove shag bags and devices that collect or push balls (such as PVC piping) from the area. Place alignment sticks, or stakes on the green as targets, and/or turn the cups upside down and leave in the hole. Remove all flags and institute a “bring your own practice balls policy.”
·       Remove bar stools if the bar is open for “to go” service; do not promote seating.
·       If portable restrooms are used, they must include hand washing stations with foot-activated devices adjacent to the units.
·       Ensure range balls are cleaned thoroughly with soap after every pick up prior to mak­ing available for customers.
Preparing Your Staff
·       Ensure staff are trained on hygiene, sanitation and food handling to learn about epi­demic prevention and control.
·       Ensure staff can recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and know how to act responsi­bly if they detect or exhibit symptoms.
·       All staff handling cash or credit cards must wear protective gloves during all transac­tions.
·       Encourage golfers and staff to replace handshakes with other touch-less forms of greeting.
Ronnie Miles
Director of Advocacy
National Golf Course Owners Association

This comprehensive and interactive resource is a result of the NGF team’s diligent and tireless efforts in their commitment to providing the most up-to-date, accurate, and relevant information available. Some of the content includes:

*   Updates on courses currently open for play nationwide (Did you know that 44% of U.S. golf courses are still open for play, down slightly from the prior week of 46%?)
*   State-level golf course breakouts
*   Early learning from consumer sentiment research (Did you know that the consumer “itch” to play golf is intensifying despite financial and personal anxieties?)
*   Updates on off-course retail
*   Valuable links to articles and external resources regarding the coronavirus and its impact on golf

For your convenience, here’s the link to the resource: It’s updated at least once a week, so it’s worth frequenting the site.

Member Shared Resources

Coronavirus COVID-19

From Karl Kimball,  PGA – A “slide” to use in your golf shop to ensure social distancing from members, customers, and guests. They use a regular golf club box with the top cut off.

Mill Creek Golf Club Letter to Members – March 31

S.C.O.R.E. with the CPGA

Here we will encourage self compliance during these COVID-19 times to keep golf courses open, safe, and thriving!