Report: 90% of US courses to be open by May 17

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Despite the country having the highest death toll from coronavirus in the world, the overwhelming majority of golf courses in the United States of America are expected to be open for play by next week.

The National Golf Federation has revealed that it anticipates up to 90% of the country's 16,000 courses will be open for play by May 17. 

As of April 7, 14 of the 50 states had imposed a temporary ban on golf, affecting approximately 6,500 courses - roughly 40% of the USA's total.

However, a month on, both the mood and picture has shifted dramatically.

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Whilst all but a handful of states have some kind of 'stay-at-home' measures in place, there are currently only three states with specific mandates in place disallowing play: Maine, Vermont and Maryland. There are still some local restrictions in place in California but those are easing daily.

In a ten-day period leading up to the first weekend in May, eight states – Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - cleared golf courses to re-open after previously restricting play. 

Us Course Closures Picture

They account for a combined 3,500 courses - a total that doesn’t include recent re-openings in New York, California and Hawaii. It also doesn't include Washington, which got the go-ahead to open its approximately 275 courses yesterday.  

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A spokesperson for the National Golf Federation welcomed the re-openings but sounded a serious note of caution, saying: "All eyes will be on golf as it leads the way for participation sports to gradually resume while still in the middle of a serious pandemic. 

"Course owners and operators need to strictly adhere to local requirements, and golfers should be reminded they will be playing before the largest galleries of their lives. 

"Please, don't ruin the fun for the rest of us!"

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