Golfing During COVID-19: What Golfers Need to Know Before Visiting Illinois Golf Courses

Golf has always been an inherently socially distanced game thanks to the wide-open spaces the sport provides. But, in midst of COVID-19 pandemic, golfers must all learn and follow a set of new restrictions to practice even safer social distancing. Many Chicago-area and Wisconsin courses, including most featured within our list of the 13 Best Public Golf Courses in Chicago and Wisconsin, have implemented new guidelines to make the game safer this summer.

Cog Hill. ©Photography by Charles Cherney

As Illinois moves to Phase 3 on May 29, restrictions on golf will ease further. Some restrictions in Wisconsin have been less stringent from the outset. As guidelines and restrictions are constantly changing, be sure to check with the golf course before you hit the links to ensure you’re up to speed on their current rules.

Here’s what to expect when you tee off this season.

1. Carts are allowed, but only one person per cart unless the players reside in the same household. You may also bring your own or carry your own bag.

2. Pull-carts are not available for rent. Only privately owned pull-carts will be permitted.

3. Clubhouses and pro shops are still closed but could re-open soon. Restrooms may remain open.

4. Payments must be made online or by calling the Pro Shop. Phone tee times must pay for the whole group at the time of booking.

Golf course
Obi Onyeador/Unsplash

5. Currently, only groups of two are allowed in Illinois, but three- and foursomes will be allowed beginning May 29. Players should maintain social distancing and stay a minimum of six feet apart at all times.

6. Cups must be elevated so that the ball doesn’t drop down below the ground’s surface. They should be turned upside down or filled with styrofoam so the ball will not drop to the bottom of the cup.

7. Flagsticks will remain in but must not be removed from the cup.

8. No rakes or ball washers are permitted.

9. Beverages and snack carts are not currently permitted, but outdoor dining will be allowed beginning May 29.

10. Carts should be properly sanitized by the golf course staff, but feel free to bring your own supplies to wipe your cart down.

11. Tee times must be spaced by 15 minutes. After May 29, intervals can be reduced to 10 minutes.

12. Forecaddies will be permitted beginning May 29.


How to Help:

Want to golf and make a difference? Check out this list of upcoming charity golf events. Be sure to contact the individual courses for information on COVID-19-related cancellations and postponements.


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Glen TurkGlen Turk is a Wisconsin native who has been the Senior Writer/Editor of Midwest Golfing Magazine since 2005. Glen’s ultimate golf goal is to play in all 50 states and currently he is more than two-thirds the way there. Glen and his wife have a rescue German Shepherd dog and are passionate supporters of their local humane society. Glen also enjoys participating in charity golf tournaments such as those benefitting Special Olympics. You can read all of Glen’s previous works at midwestgolfingmagazine.com by clicking on the “Past Issues” tab within the main menu.