By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sunny days typically attract golfers to the links, but a declaration by Gov. Tim Walz – which defines golf courses as non-essential businesses — has courses sitting empty across the state.

However an online petition has more than 37,000 signatures requesting Gov. Tim Walz to allow courses to open during a time of social distancing.

“I think what we are all trying to solve is how do we provide healthy choices for people during this time,” said Kevin Unterreiner, president of

Unterreiner, who is also a chiropractor in Eden Prairie, wrote a letter to the governor explaining how golf helps boost the immune system in the fight against COVID-19.

“As a health care provider my concern is that if people do not have the opportunity to get outside, get some fresh air, get some sunlight, these things we know – even from the World Health Organization – they promote a healthy immune system,” Unterreiner said.

He has studied other states to see what they are doing to keep golfers on the green when other businesses are shut down.

“We are able to create an experience where a golfer can make a tee time online and they can pay in advance,” he said. Then, there would be no staff-customer interaction and golfers can stay six feet away from each other.

Unterreiner says eliminating the touch points at golf courses is key to keeping people healthy.

Some golfers are challenging the order by hitting the green or driving range.

The governor says he is talking with his health experts to see what, if anything, can be done to get golfers back in the swing of things.

Reg Chapman