BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he isn’t yet ready to allow golf courses to reopen, saying he will leave the decision to the advisory group in charge of deciding the safest way to allow people return to public places following the coronavirus pandemic.

Golf courses remain among the businesses considered non-essential, and thus ordered to remain closed through at least May 18.

Baker was asked about the plan for golf courses during his Wednesday press briefing.

“I think generally I’m going to try to leave most of the decisions about safe openings to the work that’s being done by the Reopening Advisory Board, and certainly that’s something that I know they’ll hear from people about,” Baker said.

The governor said some states have opened golf courses for walking, which he called “an interesting idea.”

“We’ve always talked about making sure that people do get (outside for activity),” Baker said. “It’s one of the reasons we issued an advisory in the first place when it came to stay at home, and not an order – because we wanted people to recognize and understand that visiting a park, taking a walk, going for a run, those were all perfectly appropriate things to do and in fact we wanted people to do that.”

Mass Golf Association Executive Director Jesse Menachem said they’re working with Gov. Baker to get people back out on the course.

“We want to be compared to running, hiking, walking, biking,” Menachem said. “That this is a safe outlet for residents in the Commonwealth to consider in the short term.”

WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche spoke with former PGA star Brad Faxon, who said courses near his home in Florida are starting to reopen.

“Palm Beach County opened today for members only to play at their clubs, you can’t have guests,” Faxon said. “If you’re going to a public facility you’ve got to call for tee times, you can’t get there more than 20 minutes in advance.”

On Tuesday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced that golf courses in the state can reopen beginning on Friday with social distancing measures.

As of Wednesday morning, according to a Golf.com study, Massachusetts and New Hampshire were two of just seven states that currently have orders in place for courses to remain closed. That number is dropping down to six, however, as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced golf courses will be allowed to reopen May 2.

Comments (12)
  1. Vincent Vega says:

    It would be easy to come up with a protocol to keep your social distance on a golf course. I guess the idiots running this state don’t want to think too hard.

  2. Kris Mass says:

    Naturally, Charlie Parker (Baker) never read the Constitution when it comes to shutting down the state, or skirting away from answering why Peabody, Cambridge, and Somerville dictators will fine anyone $300 for not wearing a mask when he was asked today. Much like MA residents are fined for not purchasing health insurance in Massachusetts (completely illegal and unconstitutional like ObamaCare is right now). Oh yeah, Baker stopped procedures, dentists, physician visits, but still forces the health insurance when it cannot be used now. It’s time that Baker, Maaahty Walsh, and these little local Kim-Jong Un’s are faced with Federal law suits to block their closing of the economies, hopefully dragged out of office in cuffs. There is no such thing as a “new normal”, there are only dictatorships or no dictatorships.

  3. Jon Kennedy says:

    we need to remember this and vote this communist out of office ASAP

  4. DJM says:

    Ok I will just keep taking my golf business down to CT where the state has more senses than Governor Baker. MA loses out again because of a governor who has no sense of reality. Same goes for the recreational marijuana dispensaries. The state of MA makes 20% sales tax on each order. You think the state could use that money to help the fight of COVID 19. But NO! Governor Baker you will not be getting my vote in the next election.

  5. Christopher Addazio says:

    Governor Baker is a complete fraud. He is destroying an entire industry that employs 20K+ people in the state and has not even looked into the safe protocols other states are using. States like Maine and RI won’t allow MA golfers, yet thousands of their residents come here to work every day in “essential” jobs. I will never play golf in ME or RI again and will never vote for Baker again for any state wide office.

  6. John Owner says:

    I am ending my golf business after this season. I will never own a business in Mass again under this regime. There should of been an advisory board in place 6 weeks ago, pathetic! Safe to go into Walmart put all this employees at risk while a golf course fee can be paid over the phone and virtually no interaction with employees.

    1. tcg says:

      Sorry John, try the Carolinas! This State has completely laid over for this guy! Unless people start to be visibly angry its going to be the same old. Just wait, May 18 will become June 6 which will become June 30, and no one pushing back. Small business owners are cowards, why not stand up? Where’s the Chamber of Commerce? Mass Golf needs to step up as well and coordinate a visible response. 17 person panel is a Joke. CEO of Legal Seafood? He wants the local restaurants to fail, no one should ever go to a Legal again!

  7. John henry says:

    Governor Baker punts the decision to the task force because it’s just too hard for him to think about. What an outstanding leader. Totally risk adverse, unimaginative and unemphatic.keep this in mind come election time.

    1. DC says:

      True leader. Punts to an advisory board. Does he not speak to anyone or see all the other states playing. He acts like its a novel idea. He “heard about walking”
      What a joke. Lead and open up!

  8. John Carney says:

    I am leaving Florida for Ma. this weekend. We have never stopped playing golf at our club with no problems at all. We each ride in separate golf carts , no rakes and hole have sponge noodle attached to flag pole, never touch the flag to get ball. We are always at least six feet apart. NO
    PROBLEM!. All of us here are in the high risk group and the tee sheet is full daily. We go to super markets, gas stations, and big box stores and are responsible to obey social distancing , masks, and sanitizer. Are the powers to be saying people in Mass are not smart enough to make those decisions for themselves. We need the bureaucrats to protect us what a laugh.

  9. Dee Smith says:

    Really! My friends and I have been playing in Connecticut….no problems.
    There are more cars in the parking lots with Mass. plates than Connecticut plates!
    Too bad Baker is clueless and having us spend thousands of dollars in another state.
    There will be a lot of courses closing down because of this.
    Way to go Baker….you won’t be getting my vote!

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