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Gov. Tom Wolf doesn't give Pennsylvania golfers much hope that courses will open soon

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
Gov. Tom Wolf
  • Pennsylvania's golf courses have been closed since March 23.
  • The courses were closed under an order by Gov. Tom Wolf.
  • Wolf closed non-life-sustaining businesses in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pennsylvania golfers probably didn't like what they heard from Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday.

The state's golf courses, under an order by Wolf, have been shuttered since March 23 because of concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. On that date, all non-life-sustaining businesses, including golf, were closed.

Tuesday, however, some golfers may have seen a glimmer of hope when Wolf allowed the state trout season to unexpectedly open 11 full days before the scheduled opener on April 18. Trout fishing joined walking, hiking and running as permitted outdoor activities.

In a news release, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission said that the surprise opening of trout season was done, in part, to prevent the traditional large opening-day crowds.

HEISER: With fishing precedent set, Pa. golfers can now legitimately ask: 'What about us?'

“One of the concerns I think I have, I think we all need to have, is for the mental well being of Pennsylvanians as we go through this,” Wolf said about allowing trout season to open early.

“Staying at home is the best possible thing. Staying away from other people is what we need to do to keep this virus from spreading, and going out in the middle of a stream and trout fishing by yourself is something that I think could actually be good for your mental health and actually not contribute one bit the spread of this virus.”

Some golfers, however, thought the early opening of trout season might also be a sign that golf — another outdoor sport that could be described as "good for your mental health" — might also soon be allowed. 

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Wolf threw cold water on that notion on Wednesday at his daily news conference on the coronavirus pandemic.

“The idea (with trout season) was that, that’s something that people can do individually, unlike golf, where you actually have to go and pick up your cards, and maybe actually congregate with other people,” Wolf said.

"(Fishing) is something you can do, like hiking, you can be outside and do on your own."

Many of the course owners in the state, with backing from supportive state legislators, have been petitioning to have their courses reopened, claiming that they would be willing to make a number of modifications to ensure that all physical distancing and cleaning guidelines would be followed. They also pointed to other bordering states that are still allowing golf.

Apparently, however, those arguments were not enough to sway Wolf.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.