SCGA Public Affairs

Update: Where we stand at the beginning of 2021

Thursday, January 7, 2021

As we begin a year that promises to get worse before it gets better, and it will get better, here is a quick snapshot of where some key matters stand. We apologize for any redundancy. Some of this was shared over the Holidays, but many of you may have missed it.


  • Region 5 (11 Southern California Counties).
  • Called December 4; renewed December 28.
  • Stays in effect until 15% ICU capacity is projected to be restored over a set period of time.
  • Reviewed weekly to determine ICU capacity.
  • Likely to remain in effect at least 4 – 8 weeks; ICU capacity is currently 0% and COVID caseloads are projected to go nowhere but up for the rest of January.
  • Outdoor recreation permitted with certain restrictions, the restrictions involving golf generally being the following:*
    • No more than 4 individuals playing per prior reservation in intervals of no less than 10 minutes.
    • No congregating or crowding of any kind, including parking lot tailgating.
    • Food/beverage restricted to take-out only.
    • Single occupancy golf cars in some counties; double occupancy permitted with plexiglass dividers in others.
    • Individual golf instruction; groups of no more than 6 permitted in some counties.
    • Face coverings required wherever and whenever 6 feet of separation from others cannot be guaranteed.
    • All other generic social distancing requirements apply.
    • No common touch points – e.g., flagsticks, ball washers, drinking fountains, bunker rakes.

* There are minor differences among the different counties. Specifics available upon request from SCGA.

  • Golf’s ability to play under these general rules for the duration of the pandemic is ENTIRELY dependent upon golfers and golf facilities scrupulously adhering to all rules governing permitted outdoor recreation under the Regional Order and maintaining the game’s exemplary record in avoiding the spread of the virus.


AB 2257 – Refinements to AB 5 [Independent Contractors]

  • Three (3) major improvements for golf:
    • A pathway created for the use of independent contracting caddies through the auspices of a 3rd party provider protocol.
    • The inclusion of “Youth Sports Coaches” among the exempted groups.
    • Amendments that cure 3 of the 4 areas in AB 5 that golf found problematic in the “business to business for professional services exception” under which PGA golf professionals have for the most part continued to operate as independent contractors. The following changes are reflective of the improvement:
      • AB 5’s original requirement regarding “separate business locations” has been replaced by the ability to maintain a residence as that separate business location.
      • AB 5’s original requirement that the IC “contract with other businesses to provide the same or similar services” has been replaced by the mere ability “to contract with other businesses” to provide those same or similar services as opposed to actually having such contracts.
      • The new test’s prong 6 makes clear in a way that the old test did not that the provider of the professional services may be engaged in “independently established business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.”
    • The one offending prong of the 12-part test in the “Exception” that remains is the following:
      • The business service provider is providing services directly to the contracting business rather than to customers of the contracting business. This subparagraph does not apply if the business service provider’s employees are solely performing the services under the contract under the name of the business service provider and the business service provider regularly contracts with other businesses.
      • Amending this last problematic prong is a high priority item on the 2021 legislative agenda of the California Alliance for Golf (CAG).

SB 1383 – Job Protected Mandatory Unpaid Sick Leave

  • Companies with 5 or more employees are required to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid job leave to care for a new-born, newly adopted child, or sick family member – with “family member” defined beyond spouses and children to include grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws.

AB 685 – COVID Notifications

  • Businesses must notify employees within 1 business day of learning of any potential COVID-19 exposure and at the same time notify them of all information regarding benefits – e.g., worker’s compensation, sick leave, protection against retaliation, and virus protection measures.
  • Employers must notify local public health agencies within 48 hours of a COVID-19 outbreak, which is defined for the purposes of this Act as three lab-confirmed cases at a single workplace within a 2-week period.

SB 1159 – Worker’s Compensation

  • Codifies Governor Newsom’s May 2019 Executive Order creating a disputable presumption that front-line workers who contracted COVID-19 from mid-March forward caught it on the job unless businesses offer proof to the contrary. Applies to businesses with more than 5 employees.

Minimum Wage

  • Not new in terms of the legislation that enabled these increases, but new in terms of effective date. On January 1 the statewide minimum wage was increased to $14 per hour for employers employing more than 25 employees and $13 for employers employing 25 or fewer employees. Many local jurisdictions have higher minimums – e.g., the city and county of Los Angeles will go to $15 for all employees July 1.


Key Provisions in Bill Related to Golf:

  • Provides $284.5 billion to reopen and strengthen the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for first- and second-time borrowers.
    • Allows small businesses to receive a second PPP loan if the business has less than 300 employees and can demonstrate a revenue reduction of 25 percent.
    • Expands PPP eligibility to include 501 (c) (6)’s, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), housing cooperatives, newspapers, broadcasters, and radio stations.
    • Simplifies the PPP loan forgiveness application for loans under $150,000.
    • Allows employers to deduct PPP related business expenses and expands list of eligible expenses to include:
      • Software, cloud computing, and other human resources and accounting needs
      • PPE
      • Covered supplier costs
  • Repeals a provision from the CARES Act requiring PPP recipients to deduct their EIDL advance from their PPP loan forgiveness amount.
  • Adds $20 billion to the Economic Injury Disaster Grant/Loan (EIDL) program.
  • Extends the repayment period of deferred payroll taxes through December 31, 2021. Penalties and interest on deferred unpaid tax liability will not accrue until January 1, 2022.
  • $600 stimulus checks per individual/child ($1200 per married couple).
    • Capped at $75,000 gross adjusted income per individual ($150,000 for married couples)
    • Must have a valid social security number to qualify
    • Eligibility for stimulus checks will be determined using 2019 tax information.

Key Provisions of Significance Missing:

  • PPP eligibility for 501 (c) (7) corporations, the tax status of the nation’s private golf clubs, albeit they continue to be eligible for participation in the EIDL program.
  • COVID-19 liability protection/insulation for businesses.
  • Monies for the nation’s cash strapped and struggling state and local governments.

Allow us to reiterate our belief that recreational golf roughly in the form outlined at the beginning of this Update will continue through these darkest of days of the pandemic. But coronavirus caseloads are exploding across the Southland. Nothing is out of the question, including some form of literal stay at home order should things become dire. The best way to ensure that the permitted form of “recreational” golf that puts no more than 1.3 persons per acre of open space when fully occupied continues is to make sure that all of the rules that guarantee this ratio are scrupulously honored.

Happy New Year! Be safe. Stay healthy.

Archived Updates

Opposition to Assembly Bill 1910

Read More →

CGCOA Golf is Good Ambassador Program

Are you interested in becoming an advocate for golf in California? The CGCOA is seeking amateur golfers who are passionate about protecting the game of golf and promoting public policies that enable golf to flourish in California. Take the next step to becoming an advocate for golf by completing the attached Golf is Good Ambassador Application.

Read More →

FORE - Public Affairs

FORE - The magazine of the SCGA. Find archived Public Affairs articles on the website of the SCGA's award winning quarterly publication.

Read More →


It isn’t often that one bill can highlight all that separates one side of California’s great water divide from the other – from those interests fixated on conservation as the focus of future supply and those intent on pursuing a more diversified portfolio – from those who are often accused of believing that California can conserve its way out of its aridification predicament and those who are convinced that if conservation is the only tool in the state’s water resiliency toolbox, California is doomed to be hollowed out in much the same way rust belt cities like Pittsburgh and Detroit were in the last quarter of the 20th Century.

Read More →


Charles Dickens’ famous opening of “A Tale of Two Cities” comes to mind as a good descriptor of where California’s water situation and golf’s place in it stands after back-to-back record precipitation years: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...".

Read More →


Four Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion yesterday that seeks to crack down on what the motion describes as “black-market tee time brokers” who book and resell city golf course tee times for profit.

Read More →


When introduced by Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) February 16, AB 3192 contained a provision that would have banned the use of all nonorganic pesticides and fertilizers on golf resorts in California’s Coastal Zone.

Read More →


A cautionary tale from semi-rural Santa Barbara County to remind you that the pressure to repurpose golf courses is not just a phenomenon in California’s densely packed urban cores.

Read More →


The National Golf Course Owners Association’s (NGCOA) Harvey Silverman may have characterized the City of Los Angeles’ uncommonly quick reaction to intense media scrutiny (five separate Los Angeles Times stories including a Sunday lead editorial) of the depredations of tee time brokering with his quip in the organization’s “Golf Business Weekly” about the city having reacted “faster than fixing potholes.”

Read More →


Every year there seems to be one bill filed in one house of the California Legislature that keeps the California golf community up at night.

Read More →