UPDATE: The Recreation and Park Department has announced it will reopen The City’s public golf courses next week.
“After receiving clarity from state officials, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will reopen its public golf courses,” the statement said. “We are currently working out details to ensure the operations comply with the health orders and hope to have all courses open sometime next week.”
Also, the Presidio Golf Course, which is overseen by the Presidio Trust, will re-open to golfers on Monday, according to Presidio Trust spokeswoman Lisa Petrie.
The 145-acre course had transitioned to public use while closed due to the pandemic, allowing visitors to practice physical distancing while getting outdoors. It will remain open as a public park through the weekend.
But on Monday, Petrie said, the course will reopen to golfers as now allowed under the health order.
The course and driving range will both reopen, but the pro shop and all food service will remain closed, she said.
The original story is below.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that golf is permitted under the state’s shelter in place order as long as golfers go alone and don’t use a cart, but the Recreation and Park Department has yet to announce it will reopen its closed courses like Harding Park.
Newsom’s comments come a day after San Francisco and other Bay Area jurisdictions extended a health order to shelter in place until May 31 but with some easing of restrictions around outdoor recreation, including allowing golf.
The new order goes into effect on Monday and would allow golfing for the first time since courses closed on March 17 for the initial shelter in place order issued to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
There was initially confusion over whether courses could reopen as early as next week. A city fact sheet and a Department of Public Health spokesperson said Wednesday courses could still not open because Newsom’s statewide shelter in place order did not allow golf, and since it was more restrictive that took precedence.
However, Newsom said that the state’s shelter in place order was updated Thursday to allow golf with certain restrictions: only single golfers and no carts allowed.
Newsom said during a press conference that the order was updated in light of “a lot of conversations in this state about things like golf and whether or not that’s appropriate.”
He also noted the new order in the Bay Area that would allow it. “We wanted to clarify where the state stands,” he said.
The state places more restrictive conditions on golfing than the new local health order, which The City would have to comply with. But it does now allow golf.
The City’s health order, by contrast, allows no more than two players when not in the same household and allows carts for one person, unless persons are of the same household.
Sarah Madland, a spokesperson for the Recreation and Park Department, had said before Newsom’s press conference Thursday that they were complying with the health order guidance that said they couldn’t open courses due to the state order.
When asked if the department now plans to open courses since Newsom’s announcement, Madland said in an email, “I will let you know if anything changes on our end.”
Operators of city golf courses are waiting to hear what’s next.
“We still aren’t sure, we have to wait for the SF Rec & Park (owners of the property) to tell us what direction we are going in and will let you know!” Jeanne White, director of business development for TPC Harding Park, wrote in an email to the San Francisco Examiner.
San Francisco Recreation and Park Department maintains six public golf courses.