Puerto Rico reopens golf courses in wake of coronavirus pandemic

The governor of Puerto Rico allows island’s 18 golf courses to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez reopened golf this week on the U.S. territory’s 18 courses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of the island’s businesses had been closed since March. The course reopenings are part of a larger initiative that allowed businesses such as restaurants, beauty salons and car dealerships to return to limited operations.

Puerto Rico’s courses are popular destination for mainland players, offering holes that play directly alongside ocean beaches and a few that take advantage of mountainous terrain.

Six of the island’s courses rank inside the top 50 on Golfweek’s Best list of top courses in the Caribbean and Mexico, with Bahia Beach Resort and TPC Dorado Beach’s East course tops among those.

As of Friday, Puerto Rico had logged more than 3,400 cases of COVID-19 and more than 131 deaths from the virus. A 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will remain in place until June 15, and all people will be required to wear a mask when outside or inside a business.

In opening its courses, Puerto Rico follows the U.S. trend in which all 50 states have allowed the game to resume or never shut it down. The National Golf Foundation reported this week that more than 97 percent of U.S. courses are operating now.

St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico (Courtesy of Bahia Beach Resort)

“This is encouraging news, and people wishing to visit the island can soon embrace all that is waiting for them when the time is right to travel,” Leah Chandler, chief marketing officer of Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s destination marketing organization, said in a news release.

Several of the island’s courses are currently open to the public, including Royal Isabela and Club Deportivo del Oeste. Several others – examples include TPC Dorado Beach, Palmas Athletic Club and Wyndham Grand Rio Mar – are only open to members but expect to accept public play soon.