Board of Health votes to allow Southwick golf courses to reopen

A group of golfers leave the starting line as part of a past Southwick Police Association Golf Tournament at the Edgewood Golf Course in Southwick. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS PHOTO)

SOUTHWICK- The Board of Health voted May 7 to allow the three major golf courses in town to reopen after Gov. Charlie D. Baker moved to allow municipalities to decide for themselves if their courses should reopen. 

The vote would allow Edgewood Golf Course, Longhi’s Executive Golf Course, and The Ranch Golf Club to reopen their courses to the public provided that they follow strict social distancing guidelines. 

“The only employees on site would be groundskeepers and any required security,” said Health Director Tammy Spencer.

Under the Gov. Baker’s order, which was announced Thursday,  there would be no golf carts, no caddies, and no rental equipment, meaning one would have to have their own equipment in order to play. All indoor facilities and practice areas would also be closed.

Mini-golf courses would not be allowed to reopen under the new guidelines.

While Spencer said that she would prefer that everyone in Southwick remain home, she said that golf of all sports would be best suited to come back during the pandemic, as there is typically little to no contact between players and groups.

She also said that the outdoor exercise one would get by walking through the course without a golf cart could also be considered essential. 

Board of Health member Dr. Jerome Azia urged caution but largely agreed that golf courses reopen. He said that he has observed many people in Southwick ignoring the mask mandates set by both the state and the Board of Health the week before. Dr. Azia abstained from voting as he is a member of Edgewood. 

Spencer said that the Agawam Revolver Club had reached out to her saying that they would like to reopen their outdoor range. Spencer said that she sees it as falling under the same category as golf where social distancing can be possible. 

She said that she will visit the site in the next week and try to come up with her own guidelines for them to reopen. The Board of Health will likely vote on that measure during the remote meeting Thursday, May 14.

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