NEW: Pennsylvania golf course opening May 1; GAP status update; all events through May canceled - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Apr 06, 2020

NEW: Pennsylvania golf course opening May 1; GAP status update; all events through May canceled

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Updated 4/27/2020

Pennsylvania golfers, we are excited to inform you that Governor Tom Wolf announced today that golf can return to the Commonwealth effective May 1.

GAP understands there are many questions for Members and Member Clubs about this reopening. GAP will be offering additional guidance in the next 48 hours to ensure a safe return for our Member Club staff and players. 

Stay safe.

Statement from Governor Tom Wolf 

To ensure that Pennsylvanians have opportunities to safely enjoy outdoor recreation as a way to maintain positive physical and mental health, and in keeping with the commonwealth’s stay-at-home orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the Wolf Administration is lifting some restrictions on businesses related to certain outdoor activities.

Starting Friday, May 1, golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds may reopen statewide and are required to follow updated life-sustaining business guidance and FAQ issued by the Wolf Administration to include specifics for how these outdoor recreational industries can resume activities while prioritizing public health and safety.

Below is a question from the FAQs link.

29. May golf courses maintain in-person operations??

  • Beginning May 1, 2020, golf courses operators may permit individuals access to the property so long as there are no gatherings of any kind and appropriate social distancing of six feet between individuals is strictly abided. Golf carts may be utilized, but must be single occupant only. No employees are allowed for purposes of facilitating play; however, operations such as landscape maintenance and other “services to building and dwellings” may continue as necessary to prevent deterioration of property condition. Restaurant activity is limited to take-out or delivery only, and use of facilities for banquets or similar gatherings remains prohibited.

“Pennsylvanians have remained resilient throughout this COVID-19 crisis, and as we successfully continue to flatten the curve to protect our physical health, it is critical that we also focus on our physical and mental health during these extraordinary times. As the weather warms and daylight lengthens, enjoying time outdoors is an important way to manage stress,” Wolf said. “As we start to take measured, limited steps to reopen our commonwealth, reopening these industries will help to rebuild our economy and strengthen our mental health.”

According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half (45 percent) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over COVID-19 with the burden likely to continue even as the pandemic’s threat diminishes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance on visiting parks and recreational facilities. These guidelines must be followed statewide by businesses and when engaging in outdoor activity while the state disaster declaration remains in effect. The guidelines will ensure the safety of individuals and families engaging in outdoor activities and adherence will help slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • Stay close to home: Pennsylvanians are encouraged to enjoy permitted outdoor recreational activities within their community and avoid crowding popular destinations.
  • Practice social distancing: Maintain the recommended minimum 6 feet apart from fellow recreationists. Pennsylvanians are also encouraged to wear a mask or protective garment that covers the nose and mouth any time they go outside. If a parking lot at a park is full or there are too many people on the same trail, find an alternate place to recreate. Cross the street to avoid running directly past another runner or wait longer at a golf hole for a fellow golfer to move forward.
  • Minimize risk to others: Individuals should only go out if they feel healthy and have not been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Practice good hygiene: Wash hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs and handrails.
  • Have a plan: Create a safety plan before heading outdoors. Explain to children the need to keep their distance from others, even if they happen to see a friend while outside. Discuss with partners, social distancing while on the golf course. Think through how to avoid other runners when waiting to safely cross a street at the same time.

“Practicing social distancing takes a little planning and patience but it is necessary if we want to continue to flatten the curve while ensuring that Pennsylvanians have opportunities to de-stress and get exercise,” Wolf said. “Finding the balance between enjoying the outdoors and staying safe is only possible when all Pennsylvanians are abiding by the same precautions. It’s critical that all Pennsylvanians adhere to the safety guidelines to allow for these outdoor activities to remain available to the public.”

Updated 4/17/2020

We at GAP hope that you and your families are all safe and healthy during this challenging time. Our hearts are with all of those who have directly felt the effects of COVID.  We all anxiously look forward to our next round of golf and even more to rounds of golf with friends across all of GAP.  We thought it was important to reach out and share with you how the GAP remains active and engaged on your behalf.

• We continue work with industry allies across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. We continue to advocate for the return of golf in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Each week, we communicate with our public officials to emphasize the benefits of golf and how the game could be played safely and our hopes that courses throughout Pa. and N.J. can open as soon as possible.

•  We have taken a leadership role in establishing an alliance of golf across Pennsylvania for the purpose of providing a unified voice for the future of Pennsylvania Golf. 

•  We have completed and mailed the first issue of the GAP Magazine, which should arrive at your door any day now.  While the world has changed, we hope you will enjoy the issue.

• We communicate with the professional staff and leaders of our almost 300 Member Clubs to ensure that membership and educational opportunities available.

• We have greatly expended our webinars to provide an opportunity for golfers to learn and enjoy a golf related topic from home. Response has been outstanding with hundreds of attendees. We have plans to expand our webinars in the near future. Click here for more information.

• We are continuously working to modify our tournament schedule as we attempt to host as many events as possible when golf reopens. We are gathering information to implement updated procedures on how our events will be conducted with safety for all players, volunteers, club and Association staff at the forefront of decision making.

• Through our J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship we have been communicating with our scholars to see how they are holding up with remote learning and the uncertainty of the 2020 caddie summer.  We have also escalated the timeline for our Empower Program to assist our caddies into the future.

• Each and every day we conduct staff meetings to collaborate on projects and always strive to provide value in your membership.

All told, the GAP continues to work hard through this crisis to ensure that golf throughout our region bounces back strong on the other side of the pandemic curve. We remain optimistic that we will return to conducting Championships, Member Play Days, and other playing opportunities for our members in the future.

When we return to our respective versions of normalcy, the GAP will be there, ready to help get you back on the course as quickly and safely as possible.

On behalf of the Executive Committee and Staff, thank you for your continued trust and confidence.  Stay Safe, Stay Positive.


Mark Peterson, Executive Director

Updated 4/7/2020

Dear GAP Community:

We hope this message finds you, your family and loved ones safe and healthy.

In Pennsylvania and New Jersey all golf courses remain closed pursuant to the Closure Orders issued by the Governors of those states. In Delaware, golf courses remain open with restrictions but only to Delaware residents. To those with a passion for golf, the lack of access to our favorite pastime is particularly painful especially in these stressful times. However, GAP fully respects the decisions of our elected officials and strongly recommends that all GAP clubs and members comply in all respects as the Orders were issued to protect the health and well-being of our entire community.

Since the Closure Orders in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, GAP, along with our partner organization in the golf industry, has taken an active role as communicators. GAP believes golf is an activity that can be enjoyed while safely practicing social distancing. Therefore, GAP joined in an appeal of the Pennsylvania Closure Order but that appeal was not granted. GAP continues to closely monitor the situation in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware on a daily basis and are actively in communication with other local and national golf industry organizations. For example, we have recently been working towards the inclusion of 501(c)7 organizations, a tax status that applies to many of the GAP members clubs, in potential benefits that may be created in future COVID-19 legislative bill.

Certainly, many questions remain regarding our golf courses and our access to them. GAP continues to seek guidance from our state governments on limited use of the golf course properties for activities such as walking, personal exercise and dog walking and even the possibility of re-opening courses, GAP is actively planning and revising its 2020 schedule. Unfortunately for now, we must all fight the urge to grab a quick nine and instead play by the rules in effect. Together we will get through this to once again enjoy the wonderful game of golf, together.

GAP’s remains committed to its mission: to preserve, protect and promote the game of golf.

Please check back to our web site for future updates. Or reach out to us via email,, or via phone at 610-687-2340. 

Most importantly we hope all of you and your families are safe, healthy and well in these extraordinary times. We look forward to seeing you back on the wonderful golf courses in the GAP  very soon.

Be Safe, Stay Positive.

Your GAP Team.

Updated 4/6/2020

GAP is committed to the health and well-being of its members and Member Clubs throughout the region. To reduce the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak conditions on its golfers, employees, volunteers and member club personnel, GAP has suspended all its events through June 1. The Association does not make this decision lightly, but on the recommendation of government health officials and other leaders, GAP believes this is the prudent move.

Tournament registration delayed.

Registrations for tournaments and Member Play Days set to open in early April have been pushed back to April 21.

Which events are impacted?

The entire BMW GAP Team Matches schedule and the Playoff have been canceled. The Pro.-President, Golf & Green event has been canceled. The Warner Cup (Net) and Tee It Forward – Spring Net Championship have also been canceled. The AGA/GAP Ben Marshall Spring Four-Ball  at Wyoming Valley Country Club has been canceled. The Architect Series for 2020 has been canceled.

All other events scheduled to take place between now and the end of May have been postponed. This includes GAP championships and qualifying, U.S. Open Qualifying and Member Play Days. This postponement includes competitions/championships in the AGA/GAP region.

Will my event be rescheduled?

Postponed events may be rescheduled on a case-by-case basis. The Association is actively working with all its host clubs in the hope that the majority of suspended events are able to be rescheduled.

Will I receive a refund?

All players who are currently in fields for events with start dates from today through June 1 will be contacted directly by the GAP about refunds and any other available options.

What about events that occur after June 1?

GAP wants all our golfers to feel safe before returning to its events. The Association loves conducting golf tournaments and will play as soon as possible – as long as it is considered safe for everyone, including the people you go home to after the round. GAP is temporarily adjusting its withdrawal policy for the players who have already registered and paid for a tournament that occurs after June 1. Those players can withdraw at any time prior to the event and will receive a full refund with no admin fees by contacting the GAP Office at 610-687-2340, ext. 24 or email at

What events are open for registration?

Registration will open for events that take place on or after June 1 as scheduled. GAP will place all tournament entries on a “Pending List” in the order they are received. This means you can hold a spot in the tournament without paying an entry fee until the tournament is confirmed to be conducted.

How can you stay up-to-date with the latest news?

GAP will continue to provide updates as this situation progresses. Visit our website and follow our social media feeds for updates regarding future announcements.

Thank you for your patience and support during this time.

Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 288 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

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