Thanks to Governor Baker’s Declaration of Golf Independence announced Thursday morning, golf on the North Shore and throughout Massachusetts is back in business; golf courses private, public and municipal.

Sadly, our collection of excellent North Shore golf practice facilities are not included in this great news. They must remain closed, even though they are outdoors activity, like golfing, until further notice; hopefully no longer than the next stay-at-home milestone date of May 18.

No matter that Massachusetts became the 50th and final state to give the green light for the golf industry to resume. New Hampshire golf opens Monday after receiving Gov. Sununu’s blessing a week ago.

No matter said golf industry lost five glorious early May days starting last Saturday to conduct business and get their cash registers ringing for the first time in the 2020 season. That’s water under the bridge that cannot be retrieved.

At least the government made the announcement before 10 a.m. on a quite nice Thursday so that May 7 could be a golfing day for at least eight hours.

Let’s just be grateful real golf has finally returned to our lives – Covid-19 pandemic be damned.

Most important, now that the billion dollar Massachusetts golf industry has been resurrected – the first major non-essential Bay State economy to be so allowed by Baker and his Reopening Advisory Board, it now is incumbent on every golfer in the Commonwealth to recognize and adhere to EVERY guideline laid out regarding how we golfers must conduct ourselves on the golf course; guidelines enacted to hopefully ensure that the Covid-19 virus does not infect anyone walking their favorite golfing turf.

Read those guidelines once a day until further notice.

This is critical for the golf industry. We golfers cannot screw this part up. We must set the example for the rest of the state. Simple as that. We do this right and golf can be remembered for setting the stage for the reopening of countless other economies.

With the opening of golf established for May 7, we can be optimistic that all golf competition and events not yet cancelled – so long Massachusetts Open at Taconic and U.S. Senior Open at Newport, both slated for June – should remain alive and active.

That should apply most significantly to the Massachusetts Amateur set for Kittansett July 13-17, the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur set for Essex August 11-14, the New England PGA championship set for August 17-19 at Myopia and Tedesco, and the PGA Tour’s Fed-Ex Cup playoff tournament at TPC Boston, the Northern Trust, August 20-23.

We should acknowledge the attention given the reopening issue in recent weeks from several parties: Tom Gorman of New England golf; Joe Marin, who led a 40,000-signature petition; and, most important, the Alliance of Massachusetts Golf Associations (AMGA), led by Mass Golf CEO and executive director Jesse Menachem. The meeting last weekend between representatives of AMGA and Baker’s Reopening Advisory Board obviously had the most influence on the decision announced Thursday morning.

We should also celebrate the re-activation of countless support jobs, on the course and off, that have taken effect immediately or will in the near future, once the clubhouses, pro shops and locker rooms re-open.

Now the golf ball is firmly in the hands of the state’s golfers. Follow every guideline to a “T.” Ignore even one of those guidelines and the consequences could be disastrous.

Oh, and be grateful this pandemic did not start in June or July or we hackers would have been committed to a newly created North Shore funny farm by August.

We mourn the passing of Jim Mullen and Charles Thibeault.

Author, historian and former Salem News staffer Gary Larrabee has covered golf on the North Shore for more than 50 years.

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