Could a partial lifting of the lockdown save golf clubs like this?

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 8, 2020 13:10

A Scottish golf club has warned that the pandemic may mean it doesn’t reopen – although more countries are allowing golf to be played at the moment.

This all comes as anger continues to mount over golfers who are flouting rules to play the game during the lockdown.

Tarland Golf Club fears for its future due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Treasurer Raymond Reid told the Evening Express that the club is facing an uphill battle to stay open.

The Tom Morris-designed nine-hole course has a rateable value of £7,800 – meaning it falls short of the £18,000-£51,000 bracket required to obtain a £25,000 grant from the Scottish government.

However, Tarland did have the correct criteria to apply for the small and rural businesses grant of £10,000.

Reid said: “Like all clubs we have been struggling to survive the downturn of golf in Scotland and this pandemic may finally close us down.

“It is hitting businesses hard.

Tarland Golf Club. Image from Facebook

“We were just getting ready to open for the 2020 season on March 21 after the winter.

“The course had been readied for play and we were getting organised in the clubhouse.

“The clubhouse opened as scheduled on the Saturday before the lockdown with reduced hours due to the social distance restrictions.

“We actually played the medal on the Sunday but 24 hours later all clubs were closed.

“The biggest issue we have is that our members pay their annual fees before the end of April.

“As a small club we normally collect this at the clubhouse and with the closure this became impossible.

“We have sent out notifications to our members to pay fees by bank transfer or by cheque.

“With the closure of the course and clubhouse we, like all clubs, have no revenue from visitors’ green fees but we still have bills to pay.

“The part-time stewards are obviously not working, but the greenkeeper is still working as suggested by Scottish Golf.

“The greenkeeper is our priority, as if we make him furloughed, the course will soon be overgrown and will definitely have to close.

“We have applied for the £10,000 small business grant but we’re not sure when or if this will be paid at all. We are unable to apply for the £25,000.”

There could be hope, however.

As we reported recently, golf is booming in Singapore, where the game has been allowed to be played during the lockdown.

While in Denmark, golf courses are being allowed to re-open for one-or-two-balls only with a number of other restrictions.

Only social golf is allowed, and golf can only be played with people you live with or ‘with a regular playmaker.’

Groups must be at least 10 minutes apart and playing partners remain at least two metres apart. Flagsticks must not be touched and the cups are to be fitted just above the ground to ensure no contact. All clubhouse facilities remain closed and bins, fountains, ball washers and rakes are all out of use. Golfers must also leave the premises as soon as they finish their rounds, and not arrive more than 10 minutes before their tee time.

“We support an extremely cautious solution where we take social responsibility and stay far on the safe side of the authorities’ instructions,” Lars Broch Christensen from the Danish Golf Union said.

“Groups of two players with great spacing, who follow our recommendations, we can well stand for.”

Meanwhile, a Scottish newspaper has run a picture of three golfers ignoring social distancing rules and guidance not to play golf, with the headline ‘For these selfish golfers, flaunting lockdown rule is par for the course’.

The Gazette showed the trio walking along the course at Barshaw Golf Club. The picture was taken on Saturday afternoon.

One local blasted: “People ignoring lockdown rules will only prolong it.”

Others have reported as many as four cars at a time parking in nearby streets and making their way onto the golf course, despite it being shut for the foreseeable future.

Bosses at Renfrewshire Leisure, who run Barshaw, have hit out at those flaunting the rules.

A spokesperson said: “Patently this is a breach of the current coronavirus restrictions and we would urge everyone to abide by what we are being told by the government to protect the NHS and save lives.

“Barshaw Golf Course is closed along with all other facilities operated by Renfrewshire Leisure during the current health crisis and no one should be going on to the course to play golf.”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 8, 2020 13:10
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3 Comments

  1. Sean M April 8, 19:31

    Let one balls out at least!
    There are very few sports that enforce social distancing like golf. I’ve never hit a ball within 50 yards of another person…deliberately

    Reply to this comment
  2. Cliff M April 8, 18:49

    Our clubs are allowed 2 balls, bookings are only open to Members, no practice facilities, no club house, but at least there’s golf… NSW Australia… it makes sense. I went had a look yesterday, the Pro Shop is allowing 1 person in the door at a time… but business is carrying on.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Peter April 8, 15:48

    There are organizations that were “teetering” before this crisis, likely to fall by the wayside because of it !! The time to take big, bold steps and show some courage was before the crisis hit challenging more, developing next practices and utilizing contrarian strategies !! Absent some very major change, some level of collaboration or partnership, no partial opening will make the difference !!

    Reply to this comment
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