Coronavirus and golf: Ongoing industry updates

Find coronavirus-related announcements from the golf industry and that impact the golf industry.

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Filed to: Coronavirus

Golf coronavirus news
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Editor’s note: The GCM team will be doing our best to maintain a “live” feed of announcements and resources on this page. If you have news you think belongs here, please email Scott Hollister, GCM editor-in-chief, or Megan Hirt, GCMOnline.com editor.

 

GCSAA has published a state-by-state guide to governors’ actions on golf course shutdowns and continued golf course maintenance. The page is updated daily at 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. (Central).

 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The National Golf Foundation published a COVID-19 updates page that features findings from the organization’s ongoing and exclusive nationwide survey of golf facilities. The data offers an in-depth look at the pandemic’s human and business impacts in the golf world.

 


Monday, March 30, 2020

GCSAA hosted its second online town hall, which included information on employment law and human resources matters, health care access and workforce preparation, and more:

Minimum maintenance golf courses COVID-19

GCSAA and the USGA collaborated to create a Minimum Maintenance for Golf Courses During COVID-19 Outbreak handout for golf facilities. It addresses mowing, irrigation, bunker maintenance and more.


The Toro Co. issued a news release containing business updates and information on the actions the company is taking as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The New Zealand news website Stuff reported that New Zealand Golf, with the support of Sport New Zealand, has applied to the country’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for exemption from a four-week lockdown in response to coronavirus. The golf organization is awaiting an answer.

 


Friday, March 27, 2020

USGA Green Section staff members published the article What Happens If You Don’t Maintain a Golf Course? to answer to some of the most common questions they’ve received regarding the effects of discontinuing golf course maintenance during the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Society of Golf Course Architects launched the Great Junior Golf Design Challenge of 2020. “Families are struggling with having schools closed and the amount of ‘at-home time’ during this (coronavirus) crisis,” said ASGCA President Jan Bel Jan. “A few of our members brainstormed the idea, which came to us from Jay Smith, an aspiring golf course architect based in McAlpin, Fla. We’re offering this positive diversion when so many are confined to their homes.”

The LPGA moved the 2020 Evian Championship to Aug. 6-9. It was originally scheduled for July 23-26. The event is held at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France.

Tim Kreger, executive director of the Carolinas GCSA, shared an update on golf in Horry County, S.C.:

 


Thursday, March 26, 2020

GCSAA will be holding an online town hall on Monday, March 30 at 1 p.m. Central. Attorney Kerri S. Reisdorff will be among those on hand, and she will be discussing a variety of timely human resources issues relevant to golf facilities, including layoffs, unemployment and FMLA. Get more information and register.

David Phipps, GCSAA field staff representative for the Northwest region, shared an update on golf in Washington:

The Midwest Association of Golf Course Superintendents posted an update on golf in Illinois:

The Rocky Mountain GCSA published clarification from Colorado’s governor on the state’s public health order as it pertains to golf course maintenance:

Kevin Frank, Ph.D., professor and Extension turf specialist at Michigan State University, published the article Reduced maintenance on golf courses due to novel coronavirus pandemic for Michigan golf courses.

The Heart of America GCSA provided new information on COVID-19 regulations relevant to golf in the Kansas City area.

GCSAA added a sample exemption letter for essential workers to its online coronavirus resources hub. The letter is for use in areas where a “stay-at-home” order is in place but where golf course maintenance can continue.

Wiedenmann North America released the following statement:

“Wiedenmann North America is continuing to stay open for as long as we are safely permitted to do so.

Our intent is to continue operating in keeping with our understanding of applicable law and the guidance provided by state and federal authorities. We are shipping parts and machines daily and will continue to do so until we are not allowed to do so.

For more information, please visit our website here.”

 


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

GCSAA published a 50-state breakdown of governors’ actions on golf course shutdowns and continued golf course maintenance. The page will be updated daily at 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. (Central).

The USGA Green Section launched a COVID-19 Resource Center, which includes this statement:

“The spread of COVID-19 is having a tremendous impact on golf courses across the country. Courses are taking unique approaches to course setup and presentation to minimize the risk of spreading the virus, operating with limited staff, and facing resource impacts that are likely to get worse. The USGA Green Section would like to help all golf facilities manage the agronomic, labor and budgetary challenges caused by the virus. In addition to encouraging course superintendents, managers and owners to utilize the content on this resource page, we invite you to contact one of our USGA regional agronomists. They can offer customized advice and guidance for your course as we navigate these uncharted waters together.”

The Connecticut State Golf Association reported that golf courses in the state are open but subject to restrictions. Get further information on the association’s website.

The Wisconsin State Golf Association shared an update from the governor that states, in response to the question of whether golf courses can stay open, “Golf courses are not considered essential businesses. Staff can perform minimum basic operations as defined in the order.”

Cushman issued the following statement:

“Cushman is committed to continuing to support our customers while following the guidelines established by the CDC, WHO and local governments to ensure we are protecting the health and safety of our employees, dealers and customers.

Visit https://cushman.txtsv.com/owners/covid-19-updates for updates and cleaning/sanitation best practices.”

Air-O-Lator issued the following statement:

“Because Air-O-Lator manufactures water and wastewater treatment equipment, we are able to keep our doors open with a limited staff. Superintendents will be able to contact us by phone at 800-821-3177 or email.”

Jacobsen released the following statement:

“Jacobsen is committed to continuing to support customers while following the guidelines established by the CDC, WHO and local governments to ensure we are protecting the health and safety of our employees, dealers and customers. Contact your local distributor for information on any modifications to operations or more information on how to best contact them during this time.”

 


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Standard Golf is offering new no-touch golf accessories (in addition to the no-touch products the company already had available) and a “COVID-19 Local Rules” sign. The company also released the following statement:

“Standard Golf is open for business. At this time we are fully stocked, producing products and shipping each day. We are practicing social distancing within the office and factory. All meetings with external vendors, suppliers or customers have been postponed or moved to an electronic interface. We have been informed by some of our suppliers that supply chain could be slow or impacted in the future, but no issues as of today.”

John Deere issued the following statement:

“John Deere factories are operating to ensure we’re able to support our customers with the parts, service, finance, support and equipment they rely on us for — including farmers and contractors critical to the well-being of our nation and the world. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has deemed agricultural and supporting infrastructure as “essential critical infrastructure” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Deere leadership is closely monitoring guidelines issued by country and state level authorities and acting accordingly. This includes temporary and partial suspension of production due to those mandates and/or to resulting supply chain disruptions in Asia, Europe and South America.

We’re also continuing to monitor guidance from regulatory bodies, including state and federal officials, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization to ensure we are taking all measures necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees.

For additional information on how John Deere is managing the impact of COVID-19, please visit https://www.deere.com/en/coronavirus19.”

The GCSA of New England reported that golf courses and facilities in Massachusetts must shut down operations:

The Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union advised that all golf facilities in Ireland close. Read the statement.

Foley Co., based in Wisconsin, announced it is closing its factory for production following Wisconsin Gov. Tom Evers’ “stay at home” order. Read more from the company.

The Virginia Turfgrass Council released an update that states, “Golf courses are outdoor recreation and may remain open using social distancing and sanitation measures.”

The Northwestern Illinois GCSA issued an update regarding golf course operations in the state:

Several companies informed GCM that they are open for business as usual. They include Billy Goat, Bioverse, Buffalo Turbine, Dakota Peat, Foliar-Pak, Timac Agro USA, Turfline, and Wood Bay Turf Technologies.

Seago International stated it is staying open and doing business as usual. “We are well stocked with machines and parts for all that we sell. I anticipate no shortages or issues with anything we sell for the near and intermediate future,” says Scott Sweeney, owner of Seago International.

Allied golf associations in Louisiana and Mississippi — including the Louisiana-Mississippi GCSA, working in conjunction with GCSAA — released an update regarding golf and golf course maintenance in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Pure Seed, based in Canby, Ore., issued the following update:

Pure Seed is designated as an essential business and will continue to operate somewhat normally. It is imperative we monitor and then implement the most recent state and CDC guidelines during this time. Pure Seed will make every effort fulfill orders in a timely fashion, but please be patient while we adjust to additional measures in regard to employee health and safety.

Our employees are working from home and on split shifts to minimize person-to-person contact. All sanitary precautions that the CDC recommends have been implemented. Pure Seed is committed to doing what experts advise in order to protect the health of our employees and their families.

Please contact your local Pure Seed rep now to place orders, make revisions, and supply shipping details.”

The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) published a government update on the status of greenkeeping in the country. The organization has also added a COVID-19 section to its website.

 


Monday, March 23, 2020

GCSAA hosted its online town hall, with updates and insights from GCSAA President John Fulling, CGCS, and GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans:

Frank Rossi, Ph.D., will host free weekly webinars on “COVID-19 BMPs, and what lies ahead regarding essential care of plants,” beginning Wednesday, March 25. Click on the tweet to see the webinar schedule:

David Phipps, GCSAA field staff representative for the Northwest region, shared an update on golf in Oregon:

The 2020 Rounds 4 Research auction — originally set for April 27-May 3 — has been postponed. Information about the auction’s new dates will be forthcoming. Donations are still being accepted.

In a video posted by the Carolinas GCSA, Bert McCarty, Ph.D., and Fred Yelverton, Ph.D., discuss options for maintaining golf courses amid the uncertainty of coronavirus; potential long-term course shutdowns; and how to mitigate potential course damage:

The European Turfgrass Society canceled its 2020 conference in Amsterdam, which was scheduled for June 29-July 1.

 


Sunday, March 22, 2020

DLF Pickseed, based in Halsey, Ore., provided an update on its operations, including safety measures and the status of shipping.

The city manager of La Quinta, Calif., issued an executive order closing all of the city’s golf courses.

The National Club Association will be hosting a free coronavirus town hall Monday, March 23 at 11 a.m. Eastern. The town hall will be a medical update and Q&A with Dr. Catherine L. Troisi.

 


Friday, March 20, 2020

GCSAA will be holding an online town hall at 1 p.m. (Central) on Monday, March 23:

Join GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans at 1.p.m. (Central) on Monday, March 23, for a GCSAA Town Hall as he shares information on golf and COVID-19. He’ll be joined by GCSAA President John Fulling, CGCS. Chava McKeel, director of government affairs, will provide an update on government advocacy, and Shelia Finney, senior director of member programs, will take you through the newly published member resources page. This webinar is limited to the first 500 attendees.

GCSAA wants to answer your questions — please provide them to us on Twitter @GCSAA or by email to mbrhelp@gcsaa.org.

The Irrigation Association published a COVID-19 resources page, which contains information about the organization’s advocacy efforts during the health crisis, federal resources for businesses, and updates from industry-related associations.

The Ontario GSA shared the results of its survey of Ontario golf course superintendents’ and facilities’ responses to COVID-19.

Quali-Pro released the following statement:

“Quali-Pro is open and we are working hard at implementing all the CDC recommended precautionary measures, to ensure the health and safety of our employees. Operations are currently running smoothly and at full capacity. Quali-Pro will continue to closely monitor guidance from the CDC, as well as direction from our federal, state and local authorities. We are committed to keeping you informed as things change and evolve in the coming days and weeks ahead.

Our industry is made up of hardworking, caring people. Together we will get through this.”

 


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Syngenta issued Syngenta Actions on COVID-19, which contains information on its supply chain and operations and information for customers.

Members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects held a Q&A on Twitter to offer perspectives on changes resulting from coronavirus. They discussed what they’re hearing from clients across the golf industry, what they’re seeing at golf facilities in their own areas, their advice for any facility considering a project, and more.

• The USGA canceled its first two 2020 championships: the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, originally scheduled for April 25-29 at Quail Creek Country Club in Naples, Fla.; and the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, originally scheduled for May 23-27 at Philadelphia Cricket Club.

The R&A issued a statement on the COVID-19 pandemic and canceled two of its international amateur events: the R&A Student Tour Series Final at St. Andrews and Carnoustie, and the R&A Girls U16 Amateur Championship at Fulford.

 


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Bayer released the following statement:

“As of March 17, 2020, Bayer remains committed to providing business continuity in our daily operations and ensuring we deliver on our commitments to customers around the world to the greatest extent possible under these challenging circumstances. For our Crop Science product supply, R&D and seed production sites, we have staffing plans in place to maintain plant and facility operations in order to provide customers with the products and services they depend on.

We are committed to keeping our customers informed of any changes that may come in the days or weeks to follow.

The safety and well-being of our employees, customers, business partners and the communities in which we live and work remains a top priority.

Bayer continues to work closely with local, state and national health officials to do our part as we learn more every day about COVID-19.

More information is available at https://www.bayer.com/en/coronavirus-covid-19-update.aspx.”

 


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

GCSAA has compiled coronavirus resources specific to golf and golf course management. Find customizable business and communications templates, relevant OSHA and CDC information, and more.

The PGA Tour issued a statement on additional tournament cancellations, which includes a summary of all current cancellations and postponements:

The PGA of America postponed the 2020 PGA Championship, originally scheduled for May 11-17 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

 


Monday, March 16, 2020

GCSAA has postponed National Golf Day. The event was scheduled for May 4-6 in Washington, D.C. A rescheduling decision will be made at a later date.