Statement on the Coronavirus Crisis and Golf in Minnesota
March 26, 2020
EDINA, Minn. (March 26, 2020) -- Yesterday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced a stay at home executive order to limit non-essential movement outside of the home. Executive Order 20-20 is intended to slow the infection rate of COVID-19 and to buy time to deal with the anticipated rise in infected patients needing ICU care and to build up stocks of PPE for health care professionals. The stay at home order begins at 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 27 and lasts until 5 p.m., Friday, April 10. The order also extends the closure of public accommodations (E.O., 20-04) until 5 p.m., Friday, May 1. Included in the latter closure are country clubs and golf course facilities.
We were disappointed that golf was not addressed in the recent executive order and continue to seek clarification from the Governor’s office and DEED whether playing golf is a permissible outdoors activity, as it is considered such in eleven other states with similar executive orders.
It is the view of the MGA and its allied industry associations that golf can be played at a safe social distance outdoors and that it affords economic, social, spiritual and mental health benefits vital to the health and wellbeing of the Minnesota residents who call themselves golfers.
In addition, the allied golf associations are seeking confirmation that golf course personnel may continue turf maintenance practices to preserve and maintain the more than 480 golf courses in Minnesota during the spring, a critical time for seed/turf germination.
Needless to say, we support the Governor’s call to “be smart” about pursuing outdoor activities and maintain social distancing while walking, running or other physical activities.
In a March 16 notice, the MGA announced to its membership the cancellation of all March and April educational workshops, as well as, the temporary closing of the MGA offices in Edina. Staff continues to work remotely and can be reached via email or telephone (contact information is at mngolf.org/officersandstaff). As the situation develops, we will provide updates on the office closure and the status of future seminars.
Local and Sectional Qualifying for the U.S. Open (both men’s and women’s) originally scheduled for May 4, 5 and 11, have been cancelled. In addition, the USGA has cancelled the men’s and women’s U.S. Four-Ball Championships for the 2020 season.
The MGA is deferring a decision on the suspension or cancellation of all competitive and member golf events in May, pending developments (applications for the MGA’s 2020 golf schedule including qualifiers, championships, Member Days and Senior Tour are still being accepted).
The health and welfare of everyone involved including the staff at MGA member facilities is of paramount importance. We will continue to monitor the public health emergency and communicate any change in the MGA and local USGA tournament schedule as the situation warrants.
The Minnesota Golf Association
Editorial note: the original MGA statement referring to the Governor's Executive Order 20-20 dated March 25 was corrected to "stay at home," from "shelter in place."