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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 6, 2022 02:00 PM
From: Representative Thomas L. Mehaffie, III
To: All House members
Subject: Safe Drinking Water on Golf Courses
As with any sport or activity, it is necessary to stay hydrated while playing a round of golf for hours under the hot sun and high humidity. In the past, most courses offered free drinking water via jugs, or “water dispensers,” on different holes. As documented by countless forums and news articles, this practice has all but ceased to exist, as many golf courses today exclusively sell small water bottles. The absence of water dispensers, and in many cases prohibition on personal coolers, took hold well before the Covid-19 pandemic, which has now normalized the practice to the detriment of safety.  
I have heard from constituents concerned about the lack of safe, accessible drinking water on courses, which threatens the wellbeing and health of Pennsylvania’s extensive golfing population.  Many golfers are older, prone to heat-related medical complications and on medications that demand constant hydration.

Thus, I plan on introducing legislation in the near future to require the provision of free, sanitary, water sources once again, protecting golfers from health concerns and courses from potential liability. A free drinking water provision is already present in various industries and at facilities like outdoor pools: places where Pennsylvanians are most prone to dehydration.

My legislation would only implement this safety measure within a portion of the year in which the threat of heat-related illness and dehydration are most prevalent. Water dispensers are to be locked and subject to specific sanitary guidelines as to protect a patron’s health and reduce a golf course’s potential liability. Provisions of this legislation may be suspended should a pandemic-related declaration of emergency be in effect, as to mitigate any further sanitary concerns. Courses that fail to comply would be subject to the same penalties levied by the Department of Agriculture for retail food facilities.

Pennsylvanians should reap the recreational entertainment offered by our golf courses without having to worry about health concerns onset by heat and dehydration. Safe and accessible hydration will also provide courses with an important risk-management tool that was commonplace in years past. Please consider supporting me in this important piece of safety legislation.

Introduced as HB2610