‘Highly likely’ that single golfers will be allowed to play golf first

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 29, 2020 11:35

The new head of Scottish Golf has said it is “highly likely” that only golfers playing on their own will be allowed to play golf in the first wave of the easing of lockdown restrictions. The only exception for groups will be if they contain all members from the same household.

Just hours after the chairman of the UK Parliament’s All-Party Group for Golf, Craig Tracey MP, revealed he will be talking to the home golf unions shortly to ensure golf ‘can return quickly’, Scottish Golf chief operating officer Karin Sharp, chief operating officer at Scottish Golf, revealed she has been in dialogue with government officials.

According to The Scotsman, Sharp emailed golf clubs affiliated to the golf union to say: “We have had positive discussion in the last few days with government and have their support in what is a planning phase.

“It is highly likely that any return will be in phases, with single golfers or household groups in the first instance to ensure that the golf industry continues to adhere to government guidelines.

“We are also collaborating with key industry partners to ensure that across Great Britain and Ireland we are developing a consistent approach that can be adopted when the time is right.

“To be clear, we are very much in the planning phase to ensure that when the time is right, we are well placed and have the support of key partners to be able to move quickly to update clubs with detailed information as to what a phased return to golf will look like.

“In the meantime, whilst we remain in lockdown with the restrictions in place we must continue to stay home and save lives.”

At the same time, her counterpart, Jeremy Tomlinson, chief executive of England Golf, has said there is no ‘date in the diary’ for a return, yet: “It is realistic for golf clubs to expect restrictions on opening of facilities, requirements for social distancing and adaptations to the usual playing etiquette after any easing of lockdown.

“We cannot yet circle a date in the diary.”

Sharp’s comments about Ireland suggests the golf industry might be given its clearest indication yet of a return date on May 5, as that is when the Irish government is due to announce its next stage of the lockdown – two days before the UK government does so.

These announcements come as more golf courses around the world are reopening. This week most venues in New Zealand reopened, with clubhouses closed, and no flags in holes or rakes in bunkers. Reports suggest that golf venues have nonetheless been very busy.

While in Dubai, all golf clubs are also now allowed to reopen.

Golfers must pre-book their rounds and wear masks upon arrival, where they will be given a temperature check. Tee times have been extended to 15-minute intervals, with a maximum of three players per slot. Buggies can only carry one person at a time. Other restrictions include the use of raised cups and the removal of rakes from the bunkers.

Shower and locker facilities will remain closed for now.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 29, 2020 11:35
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  1. christopher S May 1, 13:01

    Unfortunately what ever processes you put in place for the safe playing of golf, there will be some Members within a club who will ignore them! Club management will need to be prepared to deal with this situation in an appropriate manner that suits their club.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Gary April 30, 10:12

    Still playing all 4 courses at St J … one course is walking only … they shared their carts with the other 3 courses and folk play in 4 balls but ride in single carts unless they are ‘couples’ … club houses are closed , no rakes , no pencils in the carts … seems to be working well … courses are packed !

    Reply to this comment
  3. Steve April 29, 18:59

    Driving ranges should open as you can easily social distance with a bay between users and the staff wiping baskets to ensure correct hygiene procedures

    Reply to this comment
  4. Kari April 29, 16:25

    Great time to grow the game for women!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Bill April 29, 16:07

    Here I’ll give you a date , how’s today. Get those courses open now.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Andy W April 29, 12:38

    Not a particularly helpful insight to share. All golf clubs will want to keep people safe but playing “with members of the same household” will be very difficult for clubs to police. The more sensible suggestions seem to have been to limit to playing in 3’s or 2’s generally. Disappointing that someone like the Head of Scottish Golf has not thought more widely (it would seem).

    Reply to this comment
    • David M April 29, 16:29

      Like my Furlough deal, something is better than nothing!!, your not meant to be around your house or elsewhere with other people not from household 2m apart so how is the golf course any different ?

      Reply to this comment
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