‘Golf can and should return quickly’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 28, 2020 10:27

The chairman of the UK Parliament’s All-Party Group for Golf has given the strongest indication yet that golf courses could reopen shortly.

North Warwickshire MP Craig Tracey has chaired and taken part in virtual meetings with industry bodies including The R&A, The PGA, The Belfry, the UK Golf Federation and the British Golf Industry Association in the last few days, and has said he will be speaking to greenkeeping association BIGGA along with the home golf unions in the next few days.

“The initial challenges with lockdown meant golf had to close in Britain, but the nature of the game means it can, and should, return quickly provided there are steps taken by all involved to maintain social distancing and to meet any other government instruction,” he said.

A spokesman added that Tracey is liaising with ‘colleagues in government to ensure that golf can return as quickly as possible with temporary rules, actions or measures in development to be implemented immediately once there is any lifting of lockdown restrictions’.

“There are so many elements and stakeholders in the golf sector that there is no single body that can or should dictate to others,” Tracey said. “However, all recognise the symbiotic relationship between the different elements and that any failing in one area could cause significant reputational damage.

“I would like to say well done to all the different bodies involved. What they are doing now will make a huge difference and has the potential to make golf all the stronger if this co-operative way of working can be continued.”

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf comprises MPs and peers from any political party and exists to support the sport of golf. It works closely with industry bodies to promote the sport and challenge issues it faces, including COVID-19.

“I have been hugely impressed by the response of the different leading golf stakeholders in coming together and working to secure a coherent response to COVID-19,” Tracey stated.

“Members of Parliament know how valuable golf is to the UK as it has a huge economic impact, employs large numbers across the UK and has significant positive influence on people’s health.”

Tracey’s comments follow those of his colleague Oliver Dowden, who said he is looking at data on whether golf courses can reopen in the first wave of the easing of lockdown restrictions, and there have been reports that golf could resume in the UK from mid-May.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 28, 2020 10:27
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31 Comments

  1. Sean April 30, 10:10

    Most of the people I play with wear masks anyway to go with their Sombrero

    Reply to this comment
  2. Jim April 29, 17:10

    Can’t wait to get back into the trees and sand, at least i will be isolating?

    Reply to this comment
  3. Tim L April 29, 10:35

    IMO they need to be planning for a near 100% contactless environment for players to return to. Lockdown may be over but the deadly virus will not go away and until there is a treatment (we know vaccine not here until 2021), there’s going to be a new normal for both golf and life. Online ordering, Online booking, Online score entry & Contactless payments are just some of the things that will need to be 100% sorted.
    Here’s to some golf and a good summer. Stay safe everyone.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Unhappy chappie April 29, 10:17

    Golfers pay club fees to go and play golf. It does not matter if the bar facilities and club hose is closed . You play golf on the course. Drive up,golf shoes on ,play your golf, change shoes in the car park. If you play , you play single of two balls. Social distance is so so easy to apply, it is not an excuse to stop the golf. Open up to the golfers they are usually people ewith common sense.

    Reply to this comment
    • Chris May 2, 23:30

      I cannot see any reason golf cannot restart, it is a sport that had easy to implement social distancing, big open spaces fresh air etc, it has been said that it will be restricted to maximum two players which I find odd, I find it odd because on my visit to B&Q today I stood in a queue with two hundred others in a space fifty yards long by ten yards wide and this was considered acceptable, also I go to Sainsbury’s and customers are picking products up and then putting them back to choose something that looks fresher or has a longer date on it, so yes let’s get golf back but don’t try to be to Nanny state about it as we know the consequences of not following the guidelines, give us a bit of credit for protecting ourselves as well as others.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Rylance April 28, 18:55

    Been down to my club much green staff done marvellous job course excellent this has been done under staffed

    Reply to this comment
  6. Robbo April 28, 15:32

    Due to the foul weather of the last 6 months the bare minimum has been done to maintain golf courses. The general public have been allowed to use and abuse the courses, but paying members have not. It is the most socially distancing game ever invented.

    Reply to this comment
    • Jimbo April 29, 14:03

      Of course they should open. With a few adjustments for example extending the gap between tee off by 12 to 15 minutes, 4 balls could move round the course safely. Single tennis matches could also be played. With just thinking out the box garden centres could open. This could be done alphabetically by surname for example a, b, c and d in day one spaced by an hour or hour and a half. Next dat e, f, g and h and so on.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Outofbounds April 28, 13:26

    I think the majority of golf club members have the good sense to observe social distancing rules and, with use of fixed tee times,it should be possible to get things going again. There should be no issue at all where the 2 ball is made up of people from the same household

    Reply to this comment
    • Mr T April 29, 11:10

      Totally agree with your comments what’s most unsettling is the damage I have seen to green’s and trees.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Matt T April 28, 12:43

    I hope the government have sense to give enough notice to clubs before giving a date. People must remember nearly all clubs will be doing the bare minimum to keep on top of the courses and will not be anywhere near the usual standard for this time of year with the majority of teams on furlough leave. Courses are natural living organisms and not something that can be switched on and off.

    Reply to this comment
    • Robbo April 28, 15:29

      Due to the foul weather of the last 6 months the bare minimum has been done to maintain golf courses. The general public have been allowed to use and abuse the courses, but paying members have not. It is the most socially distancing game ever invented.

      Reply to this comment
      • John April 28, 16:18

        Will need to make sure dog walkers and families pushing baby strollers across greens are given ample warning that the golf course is no longer safe for them to walk on.

        Reply to this comment
        • Doc April 29, 11:33

          Before close down at St Pierre, we managed 4-ball seniors with distancing, no rakes in bunkers and flags with foam in hole, so you could pick up ball with no contact to hole nor flag. It seemed safer than Tesco!

          Reply to this comment
      • The Calster April 29, 08:44

        Well said Robbo!

        Reply to this comment
    • John April 28, 16:14

      I don’t think anyone will really care, they just want to hit a ball.

      Reply to this comment
    • John April 28, 16:21

      Nobody will care the condition of the course, they just want to hit the ball

      Reply to this comment
      • Dave April 28, 21:23

        This could be bad news for golf clubs with large membership, 2 balls will only get max 90-100 out on a Saturday, anyone not getting a game may think again on £1000 fees

        Reply to this comment
        • Sonton April 29, 14:47

          Not even got back on the course yet and I sense a case of them and us(members/green fees). Lighten up chaps let’s all try get back doing what we all enjoy.

          Reply to this comment
    • Vic April 28, 22:15

      Exercise is important for everyone and golf involves people of all ages. It can be played safely with I believe minimum risks, with however huge mental health gains. As someone who has suffered from depression all my life it won’t come soon enough.

      Reply to this comment
    • Amanda C April 29, 08:21

      I agree that golf clubs will definitely need to be informed before a date is made public. Our course ( Wergs golf course, Wolverhampton) has been maintained by a lesser quantity of green staff but the course is looking better than ever and although pretty much ready to go, they still need time to get the necessary precautionary measures in place. Club staff also need time to get organised for the same reasons.

      Reply to this comment
  9. GolfingSteve7 April 28, 10:47

    Fine for members clubs but how will green fee payers be monitored to ensure that they have paid online. Someone, presumably the golf pro or his assistant will have to check and how ill this be practical with social distancing?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ally April 28, 11:07

      Online bookings & payments only ?

      Reply to this comment
    • SiW April 28, 12:01

      Unfortunately I think it’ll be really difficult for non-members anyway as only 2 balls allowed. 10 mins separation will likely see most tee off times taken by members anyway.

      Reply to this comment
    • Conkey April 28, 14:58

      Obviously at private clubs Full members must be given priority and I would of thought that they would fill most available tee times, however if current non members really want to play they should contact their club and enquire about the best membership package that suites them.

      Reply to this comment
      • Mick April 28, 18:18

        Members first and online bookings and payments for visiters of possible.

        A notice put in place for the public who think they have the right to walk around a private course, just remind them when golfers are on the course the public are NOT insured if they get hit with a golf ball.

        Reply to this comment
      • Mondo April 30, 20:01

        I think that your comment about that if current non members really want to play should have to fork out the extortionate prices of membership. after this virus situation has passed it just goes to show that selfish people who have no regard of what people have just gone through still exist with the attitude of I’m a member and your not and I can bet that you’re not even an average player

        Reply to this comment
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