NH golfers eager to take that first swing Monday

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Nippo Lake Golf Course in Barrington. Courtesy photo

CONCORD, NH – Golf courses are likely to see some new divets across New Hampshire on Monday when the links open to residents and members only.

The novel coronavirus has kept the greens quiet here until now with the pandemic impacting every aspect of life here, the nation and around the world.

But as the grass has been growing, so have calls from golfers to open their sport.

Chris Mowers, director of golf at Nippo Lake Golf Course in Barrington, said he has been ready to golf since the lockdown began.

Mowers said he would see an average of 150 golfers on a good day and Monday is already booked for 200.

“I would assume there is a little pent-up golf withdrawal,” Mowers said.

All of the guidances are posted on the website and at the course, Mowers said.

He described Nippo Lake as a “little gem” with mountain views.

The National Golf Federation estimates that 80 percent of the nation’s public, private, and municipal golf courses will be open by mid-May.

Nationally, as of April 26, 58 percent were open, with some restrictions to maintain social distancing and hygiene. Golf courses in Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts have reopened with restrictions.

On May 1, Gov. Chris Sununu announced he would allow the courses to be open in New Hampshire Monday with restrictions for the first phase of reopening.

His golf recommendations are being followed at courses and they are listed here.

An advisory committee to reopen the state met last Thursday to discuss recommendations with officials of the New Hampshire Golf Association. It made a presentation, linked here.

There is little difference between what the governor’s recommendations with the exception that Sununu restricted golf to residents and members-only.

It includes remote check-in, no cash or receipts, no congregating before and after play, limiting parking lots to social distancing sites, and no earlier out of the vehicle than 15 minutes prior to T-time. All shops are closed, no pencils offered. No practice putting.

Sununu said he no longer golfs, but that he had heard from golfers and received a petition.