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Foursomes of nonrelated golfers are now allowed to play together at Washington courses

UPDATED: Sat., May 16, 2020

Liam Kendregan smiles as he tracks his drive during the final day of the 32nd annual Rosauers Open Invitational at Indian Canyon Golf Course  on Sunday, July 21, 2019. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Liam Kendregan smiles as he tracks his drive during the final day of the 32nd annual Rosauers Open Invitational at Indian Canyon Golf Course on Sunday, July 21, 2019. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

SEATTLE – The subject line of the email the golf course sent to its customers was simple and direct, highlighting some welcome news for those who play in the state of Washington.

“Foursomes are back!”

Gov. Jay Inslee’s office released new updates to the previous guidelines for reopening golf courses in the state, which went into effect on May 5.

There are five updates to the 25 related guidelines that courses must follow as part of the reopening plan.

The initial plan limited playing groups for golfers to two nonrelated members or groups of more than two with related family members. But now playing groups can consist of four nonrelated members.

From the release: “Foursomes are permitted as long as the course determines that foursomes will not create congestion on the course. Single players should be asked if they would like to be paired together.”

It’s a major step to allow more golfers onto the course at one time. Oregon, Idaho and Montana have also allowed foursomes of nonhousehold members.

The graduation to foursomes was something that local golf officials hoped would happen within a week or two of the reopening, provided the courses followed the early rules.

The latest update also clarified rules pertaining to driving ranges – stand-alone and on courses – and other practice areas. Ranges are open for use as long as the guidelines and standards that apply to golf courses, including proper distancing, are followed.

With the expanded opening of practice areas, golf instruction is also allowed as long as proper safety and distancing is maintained.

Courses can also put trash and recycling receptacles on the course, which were previously not allowed. They must be lid-free so golfers won’t have to touch them.

The Golf Alliance of Washington, which encompasses Washington Golf, the Pacific Northwest section of the Professional Golfers’ Association, the Western Washington and Inland Empire chapters of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, and the Evergreen Chapter of the Club Managers Association of America, had this statement on the Washington Golf website:

“The Alliance would like to thank Gov. Inslee and his staff for the open communication and opportunity to share the unique place golf plays in the health and wellness of Washingtonians. The spirit of cooperation and willingness of all to find a safe approach to the operation of golf courses allowed us to reach this accord.”

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