Monday June 1st, 2020

As we enter into the fourth month of the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on our states golf industry we continue to recommend that all WI Golf Facilities adhere to the CDC guidelines to limit the transmission of this virus.  Please continue to use the resources found on the GCSAA website, the State of WI, and the CDC information.  

Previous Communications

Monday April 27th, 2020

Earlier today Governor Evers released Emergency Order #24 which provided minimal clarification but does allow for more loosening of some restrictions to the Safer at Home Oder.  Specifically for WI Golf Facilites as of 8:00 AM Wednesday April 29th Golf Cars can now be rented.    


 Read the Full FAQ Document HERE

As of what we know today the following is being shared with the WSGA, WI PGA, GCOW, and CMAA along with our membership.

1. Golfers may rent golf carts and push carts.*

a. Rentals must be paid for on-line or by phone.

b. Carts must be cleaned after each use.

c. Golfers may use their own personal carts.

d. Single rider cars only unless two people from the same household. Those two may share a golf car. This is consistent with #2 below.

2. Social Distancing Requirements must be observed at all times between golfers, unless the players reside in the same living unit or household.

3. Tee times

a. All tee times and payments must be made in advance online or by phone.

b. Tee times must be spaced to avoid multiple foursomes from clustering or gathering at any stage of the course.

4. Clubhouses and pro shops must remain closed. Except for food and drink take-out provided by a clubhouse restaurant or bar and to use restroom facilities, customers or golfers are not permitted inside any buildings.

5. Restaurants and bars on the premise may remain open, with the following restrictions:

a. Take-out or delivery service only.

b. Customers may enter only for the purpose of ordering, pick up, and paying for food or beverage or both.

c. No seating may be provided.

d. Food and drink may not be consumed at the bar or restaurant, either indoors or outdoors. However, food or drink may be consumed on the course while playing.

e. Delivery of food or drink may be made by staff on golf carts to golfers on the course.

f. Cease any self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets.

g. Customers are prohibited from self-dispensing any unpackaged food or beverage.

6. All driving ranges and miniature golf must remain closed. Putting and chipping greens may remain open so long as social distancing is maintained at all times.

7. All maintenance work and groundskeepers must:

a. Restrict the number of workers present on premises to no more than is strictly necessary to perform the essential operation.

b. Increase standards of facility cleaning and disinfection to limit worker and patron exposure to COVID-19, as well as adopting protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace.

c. Adopt policies to prevent workers from entering the premises if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.

d. Maintain social distancing of six (6) feet between all people, including staff and customers.

e. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer.

f. Cover coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands).

g. Regularly clean high-touch surfaces.

h. Do not shake hands.

i. Following all other public health recommendations issued by DHS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

8. All other functions or business activity on the golf course including pro shops and other sales may only continue under Minimum Basic Operations.

Thursday April 23rd, 2020 12:00PM

Earlier today the WGCSA learned that a Member Course received the following communication from the WEDC and we wanted to share it with all golf facilities.  As of tomorrow when courses are allowed to open Single Rider Carts are allowed for handicap patrons.  Details below.  The WGCSA will continue to provide updates as they are received.  

"Golf courses may allow for the use of golf carts by handicapped patrons. This use is limited to one patron in a cart, with a handicap placard or flag displayed. Golf carts used for this purpose must be sanitized between each use. Personal golf carts are not permitted, nor are caddies."

Justin Phillips
Legislative Liaison
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Division of Public Policy
201 West Washington Avenue

Madison, WI 53703

Thursday April 23rd, 2020

As of today we have had limited feedback from Governor Evers Office regarding the questions regarding the opening of Golf in WI starting tomorrow (Friday April 24th).

The WGCSA is providing the following updates and information courtesy of the WI PGA Executive Director Joe Stadler who has been working with our lobbyist and our leaders in Madison trying to get more clarification.  The WGCSA has shared any and all questions and comments that we have received with the WGSA, WI PGA, GCOW, and WI-CMAA.  The WGCSA is part of our Allied Associations.  When we get more information and clarification from our Governor and his office we will share it ASAP with our members.

The attorney for the WPGA has reviewed a list of our questions and Order #28 and made the following interpretations. The WGCSA Leaders beleive this is the best interpretation of the order as we understand it now. 

1.  Golf cars – There are no golf cars allowed at this time.  This includes single use, private golf cars and would override any ADA rulings at this time.

2. Food/Beverage – It is unclear if purchases made at the course may be consumed by players on the course. The order states that consumption must not take place on the premises either indoors or outdoors.  You certainly may continue to sell food/beverage for people to take with them as they leave or for pick-up.  It is recommended that you inform your players they should bring their own water to consume on the course for hydration purposes.

3. Bathrooms.  The order says clubhouses must remain closed.  However, it is interpreted that if there are other restroom facilities on property those should be used.  For a facility that only has restrooms in the clubhouse, it is suggested that only the nearest entrance to the restrooms is open and that all areas of the clubhouse are somehow closed off past the restroom such as draping, roping or placing tables as a barrier.  Bathrooms should also be used with social distancing so you may have to limit access depending on the size of the facility.

4. The order states that driving ranges/mini golf must be closed.  It is felt that this includes all areas of practice on property including the range, putting greens, short game areas.  Only the golf course is to be open.

5. Bag Room – It is suggested to be in line with the order that bag rooms are not open at this time other than for members to pick up their clubs.

6. Sales of golf products from golf shop – Per the order, as long as the rules are followed in #14e of the order – curb-side pickup.  You must not open the shop and orders/payment should be done online.  Items may then be picked up outside the golf shop with social distancing rules in mind.

7. Caddies – It is interpreted that the use of caddies is not allowed.  The order does not list exceptions for employees such as caddies.

8. Forecaddies – If the primary purpose of utilizing forecaddies is to help assure that social distancing and proper spacing between groups is being maintained, forecaddies seem to be a viable option.  The forecaddies themselves should be coached to maintain proper distancing and to not engage in some of the normal forecaddie activities such as cleaning golf balls, etc.

We recommend that if you have questions about what you are planning to do as you open to contact your local health department and local law enforcement office, in most cases the sheriff’s office.  Ask if you can run your plan by them and get their approval of your activities.


Again, please note that if we receive any further clarification on the order, we will pass that along asap.  If you have not heard from our office, we do not have any updates. 


We are continuing to make efforts on behalf of opening up the golf industry further whether that is practice ranges, golf cars, expanded food/beverage or other items.  I wish all of you that are currently complying with the order the best in your opening on Friday morning.  

Friday April 17th, 2020

The past 24 hours have been important for the golf industry in Wisconsin.  We have been given an opportunity for our courses to open and our golfing public will be able to play our great courses again in one week. 

It is critically important that ALL WI courses follow the restrictions as we understand them.   Golf will be allowed to OPEN NEXT WEEK FRIDAY at 8AM.  Restrictions will be in place and MUST be adhered to by all of our courses.   

Please understand that plenty of the citizens in our great state are scared and do not necessarily agree with our Governor granting us the permission to open.  It is paramount to make sure we allow golf to be played in such a way that safe distancing and potential spread of the Covid-19 Virus is kept to a minimum at all times.

What are the WI Golf Leaders doing to get clarification on next week Fridays opening of restrictive golf?
We are organizing and seeking clarification for the questions that our members and facilities have been seeking answers to.  We anticipate that we get more questions in the coming days. We want to help our members with the clarity they are seeking.  So far we have received the following:

  • Practice Range is closed, what about the practice putting green?
  • Can a golfer with a handicap have access to a golf cart?
  • Can our restaurant provide "take out" food? Delivery of food to golfers on the course? 
Please start planning! 
All members, Golf Professionals, Club Managers and Facility Owners/Decision Makers should begin planning for the opening of play in our current pandemic.  We challenge all courses and staff to conduct a thorough review of how Safe Distancing Golf will be played at your facility.  
  • Consider the Governors restrictive play policy at all times.  Seek clarification through WGCSA, WSGA, WI PGA, GCOW, and CMAA leadership.  Remember the "intent" is to play safe golf! It is not a time to try and find loopholes in the order.  We will be able to provide more clarity and answers next week prior to golf opening.
  • Staring at the front gate, the parking lot, the first tee thru the final green and back out of the property, identify any and all potential bottle neck points and other challenges for safe distancing.  Eliminate any safe distance issues now before you open for play.
  • It is important that all facilities be able to enforce the restrictive golf policies.  Consider marshals, make sure you can provide a safe distance experience for all golfers while on your property.  If you cannot enforce the current allowable play of golf on your course then you should not be open during this time.
  • After your facilities plan and signage is in place be proactive and consider inviting local law enforcement and or community leaders a brief tour to show them what you have done to make sure golf can be played following the orders currently in place.  If your facility is prepared it could prove beneficial to letting people learn of what you are doing and why.
More information will be shared next week.  The WGCSA is proud to be part of the collective efforts of the WSGA, the WI PGA, GCOW and CMAA.  We are collaborating and working on providing all facilities and staff more information and communications that will allow your facility to open safely and within the guidelines of the Safer at Home Order.  Thanks for your continued support and efforts in working to get the Wisconsin courses open for play.

Thursday April 16th, 2020

Earlier today Governor Evers and his staff have extended the Safer at Home Order until May 26th.  However, some modifications to the order will be allowed as the original order concludes.

Most importantly to our members, our golf facilities, and our golfing citizens is that PLAYING GOLF in WI will be allowed starting APRIL 24th, 2020.  Playing golf will have restrictions so that safe distancing guidelines will be followed.

SEE the FULL ORDER #28 Detailing Safer at Home until May 26th HERE

We expect there will be questions on the specifics of what can and will be allowed under this restrictive play.  As the WGCSA works with our Allied Associations we will be sure to share what we learn with our members ASAP in the coming days.

This week Tuesday The WGCSA Board of Directors voted unanimously to help fund a Lobbyist to assist the Allied Golf Associations of Wisconsin in our continued efforts to communicate the benefits of playing golf during this pandemic

With the direction of the WI Section PGA and The WSGA, the WGCSA was asked to help support and fund a lobbyist along with the GCOW, and the WI Chapter of the CMAA.  After discussions with multiple lobbyists, the decision was made to retain Eric Petersen of Wimmer & Co. based in Madison.  Mr. Petersen is a member at Maple Bluff CC so he is familiar with the game. Eric works with the Brewers and Packers and was a key lobbyist in the approval of the Fiserve Forum which was critical to keeping the Bucks in Wisconsin. There is a complete list of clients on the site if you are interested in learning more. https://www.wimmerandcompany.com/

We feel that Eric is well connected with both political parties. We have shared with Eric, the 2010 economic impact study on the golf industry.  Eric will be stressing that golf is a $2.4 billion industry in Wisconsin and that almost 40,000 people are employed through the game.  The amount of money golf raises for charity (close to $50 million in Wisconsin) will also be a large speaking point. We feel this messaging is important whether we are successful in our mission to have golf be open earlier than other activities.    He will also be working on our behalf to help ensure golf is included in any state bail out funds.  Once golf does open, we will engage Eric to work on getting the restaurants at the courses open, hopefully as soon or sooner than some other industries. 

April 10th, 2020

Wisconsinites have completed the third week of Governor Evers Safer at Home Order.  The WI Allied Golf Associations have continued to monitor the Governors Office for action and response regarding our request to consider having "Safe Distance Golf" being opened in Wisconsin.  We have been assured by the Governors staff that he has received our requests. 

Today in a press conference on 620AM WTMJ in an interview Governor Evers answered a question about golf being opened in WI.
His comments were:

“I know that’s been a hot topic which is interesting, because we have life and death situations going on,” he said.

“We’re not at the point now to say we’re going to open up golf courses, but we will continue to monitor the science on that. When it’s time to do it, we will do it.”

The WGCSA will continue monitoring the status for golf courses to be allowed to open for play in Wisconsin daily.  As of now the WGCSA and other Allied Associations all agree that we should adhere to Governor Evers Orders and REMAIN CLOSED for play.

Friday April 3rd, 2020

As we complete another week of the Safer at Home Order I wanted to provide updates for our members.
  • Dr. Soldat and Dr. Koch have provided us with a timely and informative Article on Minimal Maintenance.  I challenge everyone to review.  Clear concise ideas to consider as we head into the growing season.  The end of article contains contact info for both of our WI experts.
  • WGCSA strongly supports the efforts of the UW new one and two year short courses for Turfgrass Management.  Check out information and links on the WGCSA.com Home Page
  • Instead of kicking off our first day of the PAR 4 Research Online Auction today we have moved it back 30 days to April 24th thru Sunday May 3rd.  The reason is to have a better chance of having golf being played as the auction is being conducted.  The value of our golf packages when golf is open will be more than if we ran it now with no idea when the packages could be used.
  • We have received many communications from our members, vendors, golf course owners, and even general golfers.  Some are angry, some are just frustrated, but all are hoping we can play golf soon. 
  • The pandemic continues to worsen, just how bad it will get here in WI will dictate our industry and when we can get back to normal.  Please continue to do your part.

Tuesday March 31st, 2020

The WGCSA continues to support the WSGA, WI PGA, and GCOW as information and communications to open WI Golf Courses for play.  Rob Jansen, Exec. Dir. of the WSGA has established direct communications on behalf of the WI Golf Industry.  He has been working hard in sharing our requests with the decision makers in WI.  

See the latest letter sent to Gov Evers.

We have also shared the US Map showing which states are allowing play to the Gov. Office.  

Yesterday the GCSAA released the Minimum Maintenance Guideline

during the weekly Covid-19  Town Hall Meeting.  We know our members have some questions on what is and is not considered as essential maintenance.   This should provide some basic guidelines that you can expand for your particular facility.

Thursday March 26, 2020

The WGCSA and its leaders wish all members, families, staff, friends and facilities continued support during this pandemic. We wanted to provide you with updates to our efforts to find clarification regrading Governor Evers “Safer at Home Order” issued on March 24th. Yesterday Gov. Evers released a FAQ publication. This clarified some of the ambiguity of the original order as it clearly stated golf is Non Essential and therefore as of yesterday golf in WI is closed. The WGCSA asks that you (and your facility and golfers) to fully adhere to this order.

We have heard from many of our members and non-members who reside in Western and Northern WI who are members of other GCSAA affiliated chapters. The WGCSA Board of Directors has been monitoring the current situation and wanted to share the following position of the WGCSA at this time.

The WGCSA is part of and supports the WI Allied Golf Associations (WSGA, WPGA,GCOW, WGCSA) Collectively we are continuing communication to have Governor Evers review the most recent order asking that the game of golf can be considered “an outdoor activity” by following strict adherence to the CDC Safe Distancing guidelines on WI Golf Courses. This effort is ongoing. Governor Evers office and his staff are willing to learn about our request and have also asked for supporting documentation and plans on how “safe distancing golf” can be played. As of today, we can report that we are gathering supporting information and that we will be able to get this information and have communications with Governor Evers staff this week. We will continue to update our members when we learn more.

Please note: It is clear that WI Golf Facilities (and playing the game of golf) are currently considered Non Essential and are to be closed. The WGCSA asks that you (and your facility and golfers) to fully adhere to this order.

Governor Evers Order also allows for all WI Golf Courses and Facilities to be maintained as we fall into this portion of the Order.

Minimum Basic Operations. For the purposes of this Order, Minimum Basic Operations include the following, provided that employees comply with Social Distancing Requirements, to the extent possible, while carrying out such operations:

a. The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business's inventory, preserve the condition of the business's physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions, including where these functions are outsourced to other entities.

b. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.

The definition is broad and can be confusing as Superintendents try to apply the directive to their facility and course. The WGCSA recommends you work to define what your facilities decision makers want you to do during this shutdown. Please follow all CDC Distancing Guidelines and protect yourself and your staff. Every facility and every Superintendents responsibility are unique. Keep your facilities safe and maintained and your course and turfgrass healthy. Security and monitoring of your property are also fully allowed.

GCSAA has created a series of publications and data to help Superintendents during this pandemic. Go to the COVID-19 Pandemic Resources Page to learn more.

If you feel the WGCSA can be of assistance or you have further questions, please call Brett Grams at 920-643-4888 or email at bgrams@wgcsa.com

In closing, please take care of your family and your loved ones. That should always be and remains THE priority. IF we all do our part to stop COVID-19 the sooner our lives and game of golf will return to normal.

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