The ever-changing landscape of COVID-19 closures continues to evolve, with Wisconsin allowing golf courses to open as of April 24, and Minnesota considering allowing courses to open soon as well. UPDATE - Minnesota courses allow courses to open April 18.

While Wisconsin's 'Safer At Home' order was extended until May 26 by Governor Evers, the state's government is loosing restrictions on golf courses to allow them to open under a limited capacity about a month before that order is set to expire. The Wausau Daily Herald reports that courses in Wisconsin will be able to open on April 24 with the following restrictions and rules in place:

  • Golf carts will not be allowed
  • Social distancing requirements must be observed at all times, with the exception of players that live in the same living space (family, roommates, etc.)
  • Tee times and payments must be made electronically or over the phone
  • Clubhouses and pro shops remain closed
  • Restaurants/bar facilities at courses may offer service for takeout or delivery only
  • Courses must space tee times to avoid different groups from congregating anywhere on the course
  • Maintenance work and groundskeepers must comply with rules in Governor Evers' order.
  • Driving ranges and miniature golf courses are to remain closed

The decision to open Wisconsin's courses comes after an online petition that earned over 67,000 signatures. Minnesota has a similar petition, with over 45,000 signatures at the time of this article being published.

UPDATE: Minnesota's courses and other outdoor businesses allowed to open. Read the story here.

-- ORIGINAL STORY --

In an interview with Twin Cities radio station WCCO this morning, political analyst Blois Olson explains an executive order from Governor Walz could come today (Friday, April 17) that could open courses as soon as this weekend. Olson tweeted that new guidance on golf courses and other outdoor activities could come today, following an executive meeting the Governor is having Friday morning.

If Governor Walz does reopen courses, it is likely his order would be similar to that of Wisconsin's order in structure, limiting contact and spreading out tee times to minimize person-to-person interaction.

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One South-central Minnesota course offered some guesses as to what golf in Minnesota during COVID-19 would look like. In a newsletter email (via BringMeTheNews), Island Pine Golf Course in Atwater offered some possibilities of what rules could be, including:

  • Practicing proper social distancing of 6ft apart as much as possible
  • Limited number of people in the clubhouse at one time
  • Encourage customers to pay online (if possible) or over the phone with a credit card
  • Club carts must be sanitized prior to use
  • Potentially only 1 person per cart unless family/close friend
  • Removal of Flag Sticks or raising the cup above ground to avoid touch points. (If your ball hits the raised cup, the putt is considered in the hole)
  • Removal of Ball Washing stations and Rakes in bunkers
  • Santizing common touch points/high traffic areas frequently (door handles, counters, tables, etc.)
  • Asking golfers to park carts in designated areas when finished
  • Asking golfers to dispose of any trash they have when finished
  • Asking golfers to avoid the clubhouse unless absolutely necessary
  • Food: take out only

We won't know for sure if courses in Minnesota will be opening, or what the rules will be at this time, but Island Pine's guesses on guidelines make sense and mirror a lot of what Wisconsin is doing with their plan to open courses.

We'll update you if or when Governor Walz announces anything about Minnesota' courses.