Back2Golf: Reopening the golf course amid coronavirus concerns

Find guidelines for protecting golf course employee and customer safety, including setting up a touch-free course, cleaning equipment and more.


Filed to: Coronavirus

Editor’s note: Download the following guidelines as a handy PDF.

Guidelines for all phases: Individuals

Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces.
Avoid touching your face.
Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.
Strongly consider using cloth face coverings when social distancing can’t be observed.

Continue to practice good hygiene — people who feel sick should stay home. Do not go to work, and contact and follow the advice of your medical provider.

Guidelines for all phases: Employers

Develop and implement appropriate policies in accordance with federal, state and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices:

Maintain 6 feet for social distancing and wear protective equipment.
Implement temperature checks for staff.
Implement testing, isolating and contact tracing.
Sanitize maintenance equipment, hand tools, etc.
Disinfect common and high-traffic areas.

Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms. Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until they have been cleared by a medical provider.

Develop and implement policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following an employee’s positive COVID-19 test.

How to clean equipment and surfaces

Employers are required to increase regular cleaning and sanitizing of common-touch surfaces.

Employers must:

Establish a housekeeping schedule to address regular, frequent and periodic cleaning.
Provide appropriate and adequate cleaning supplies for scheduled and spot cleaning, and for cleaning after a suspected or confirmed coronavirus case.
Ensure floors, counters and other surfaces are regularly cleaned with soap and water or another cleaning solution, to prevent build-up of dirt and residues that can harbor contamination.
Make sure high-touch surfaces are properly disinfected on a frequent or periodic basis using a bleach solution or other EPA-approved disinfectant.
Be sure employees follow effective cleaning procedures and use protective gloves and eye/face protection (face shields and/or goggles) when mixing, spraying and wiping with liquid cleaning products such as diluted bleach.
Make sure shared utility vehicles are sanitized after each different person’s use.
Keep Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for all disinfectants on site.
Don’t mix chemicals — many are incompatible.
Be sure to dilute and use chemicals per manufacturer label directions.
Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may be used. Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used if appropriate for the surface.
Check the label to see whether your bleach is intended for disinfection, and ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Some bleaches, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing or for whitening, may not be suitable for disinfection.
Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronavirus when properly diluted.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
Leave solution on a surface for at least 1 minute.

To make a bleach solution, mix 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.

For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, irrigation controls, and remote controls:

Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting. If there is no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.

Golf course setup

Remove all touchable surfaces, such bunker rakes, ball washers (or drain and cover), benches and water coolers. Turn off drinking fountains.
Wear gloves or sanitize tee markers as they are being moved daily. Avoid spraying sanitizer on turf.
Remove lids from trash cans.
If you leave the flagstick in, use something to fill the hole to raise the bottom of the cup, such as a foam noodle or piece of PVC. Additionally, disinfect flagsticks daily.
Eliminate sand seed buckets from carts and/or tees.

Equipment, utility vehicles and hand tools

Sanitize all hand tools prior to and after use.
Assign staff specific pieces of equipment/carts to eliminate sharing.
No one should ride together in maintenance vehicles, carts, etc. Single riders only.
Spray all equipment with CDC-approved disinfectant on all touch points (steering wheel, gear shift, keys, switches, etc.).
Disinfect fuel pump handle after each use.

Guidelines for golf course maintenance

No outside visitors permitted — employees, contractors, vendors and deliveries only.
Increase communication with your team using apps such as WhatsApp or GroupMe.
Restrict access to certain areas of the maintenance building. For example, only equipment managers should be allowed in equipment repair area.
Stagger shifts to minimize the amount of staff on property at any given time.
Assign each team member a spray bottle of sanitizer.
Block doors open to avoid touching doorknobs.
Place hand sanitizer throughout the maintenance area.
Supply cloth face coverings to your team.
Eliminate time clocks or assign management/one individual the responsibility of punching employees in and out.
Use appropriate disinfecting practices for telephones, computer keyboards, tablets, etc., after each use.
Eliminate the use of refrigerators, coffee machines, microwaves.
Hold team meetings outside or in the equipment maintenance area where appropriate 6-foot separation can be maintained.
Consider moving the job board out of break room to the equipment storage area, or using a web-based job board.
Adjust break/lunch times to limit contact between employees.
Consider setting up seating areas outside for employees to take breaks and lunch.
Remove all personal items from employee lockers.
Only one employee in the bathroom at a time. Disinfect after each use.
Sanitize touchable surfaces/carts/equipment/bathrooms/break rooms daily (or multiple times a day).