Golf courses in England can reopen from Wednesday, May 13

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 10, 2020 19:42

Golf courses and tennis courts in England can reopen from Wednesday, May 13, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation.

Golfers will only be allowed to play on their own or with members of their own household, as the new head of Scottish Golf suggested last month.

This only applies to golf courses in England – it is not yet known when golf courses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can reopen.

Golf courses in the Republic of Ireland can reopen from Monday, May 11, with a number of rules in place including that golfers can only be members of a club and they must live within 5km of it, but this does not apply to England.

Mr Johnson said: “You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports, but only with members of your own household.”

Sky News reported less than one hour after this speech that this means that ‘tennis courts and golf courses in England can reopen from Wednesday’.

‘Government officials said golf courses would be allowed to open – as long as social distancing is maintained – while other permitted activities will include water sports and angling,’ it reported.

Shortly afterwards, a number of governing golf bodies, including England Golf, issued this statement:

‘The UK government has announced that golf will be able to resume in England on Wednesday, 13 May 2020.

‘All outdoor sport must be done alone or within a household group and that includes golf.

‘There is no change to the current position in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and so golf courses in these countries must remain closed for now.

‘As a sport we must work together to resume play responsibly as and when the relevant government determines it is safe to do so. We must ensure that the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved from golfers, to club staff and greenkeepers is maintained at all times. Golf clubs and golfers have observed the lockdown very well and must keep it up and act responsibly as play resumes.

We recently provided documents giving guidance on operations and resuming play and golf clubs should consider this carefully as they restart their businesses. We also provided essential maintenance guidelines to help greenkeepers to prepare their courses for play. We fully appreciate the huge amount of expertise that exists within golf clubs throughout the country and this best practice guidance simply aims to achieve as consistent an approach as possible to protecting everyone. We are seeking further clarification from the government regarding other golf-related facilities.

‘The pandemic has already had a substantial impact on golf clubs and venues and the focus will soon turn to trying to recover from the crisis. As a group we will continue to do all we can to provide support and guidance in that effort.’

Earlier, the UK’s culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, tweeted: ‘In recent weeks our daily exercise has been so important to our health & wellbeing. Now in tentative steps fwd, & in the least risky outdoor environments, we can imminently allow some sports activity like golf, basketball, tennis, fishing – solo/in households. Guidance to follow.’

It means that golf courses in England will have been closed for nearly two months, from March 23 to May 13, but courses in the other countries that make up the UK will be closed for even longer.

In a pre-recorded address to the nation, the prime minister added that the government wants to “encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise” – provided they stick to social distancing guidelines and stay two metres apart.

Image from Twitter

The PM stressed that now “is not the time” to end the lockdown altogether – and said the government is simply taking “the first careful steps” to ease certain measures.

That includes golf in England and the 48 to 72 hour notice period comes after reports suggested the notice could be anywhere from overnight to three weeks, with many in the industry hoping it would be nearer to 72 hours.

He added that some of the hospitality industry and other public places could begin to reopen in July at the earliest “if and only if the numbers support it”.

This suggests that golf clubhouses in the UK could reopen in the second half of the summer.

Sky News reported, shortly after Johnson’s speech was aired, that his comments about “playing sports” means golf courses in England can reopen from Wednesday

The Guardian also reported that golf courses in England can reopen on Wednesday.

It wrote: ‘More immediately, people in England will be allowed to sit in parks within their household groups, to drive to beauty spots for walks, and to take unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise. People will be able to meet and sit down with a single other person from another household outdoors as long as they stay two metres apart. Angling, swimming in lakes or rivers, tennis and golf will all be allowed if people are sticking to their household groups.’

As The Scotsman is reporting, this means that golf courses will be reopening on different dates across the British Isles. They will be reopening on May 13 in England and on May 18 in the Republic Ireland, but it is not known at the moment when they will reopen in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The resumption of golf in England comes as the golf industry in Ireland has issued a five-phase plan to get golf clubs fully reopened by the end of the summer.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 10, 2020 19:42
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41 Comments

  1. Will T May 13, 06:51

    How many visitors you getting?
    Our servers have load balancers to stop this from happening. Let me know if you want more info or help.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Caroline B May 12, 09:32

    It includes golf as long as only two at a time maintaining social distance guidance.

    Reply to this comment
  3. MickJ May 11, 17:30

    The Government guidance was published this afternoon and in the relevant section it states “you can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household – this means that you should not play team sports, except with members of your own households.” I have emailed England Golf asking them to correct their advice to clubs. Solo golf is unsustainable for the sport.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Ade May 11, 16:02

    Play golf with a household member
    I only live with my wife
    She has never played golf in her life

    Reply to this comment
  5. James H May 11, 12:48

    Does anyone want to move in with me for a bit

    Reply to this comment
  6. PETE May 11, 12:34

    Golf courses may open from wednesday(WOW). However you can only play with a member of the same household or SOLO,
    How stupid surely we can trust grown men not to get within 2 meters of each other.
    You arrive at the course ready to play and on completion get in your car and go home (simple).
    I am at more risk doing the family shopping at a supermarket. Sorry Boris but with respect I do not understand this rule..

    Reply to this comment
  7. None May 11, 12:16

    I think there is something wrong in
    There brain it must be a Westminster thing I could bet they not 6 feet apart of Camara in Germany golf courses are open families can visit each other
    What is the difference here?

    Reply to this comment
  8. Max May 11, 11:29

    Will the ranges be open as well? Distance between bays is roughly 2m

    Reply to this comment
  9. Kay May 11, 09:52

    How come golfers cannot play golf as a 2 ball with non household members, yet you can meet ‘non household members in a park for exercise’? A little contradictory don’t you think? PM should clarify.

    Reply to this comment
    • Raymondeo May 11, 12:10

      How come you can travel on the underground still packed in like sardines but can only play golf with a family member.?
      Ridiculous

      Reply to this comment
      • Gobby May 11, 13:09

        All my golf buddies i work with 5 days a week so should be able yo play golf with them 1 day a week safely. Boris has to clarify this

        Reply to this comment
  10. Tim K May 11, 09:48

    Think the 2pm detailed government paperwork reveal will answer stuff.

    You can only play golf on own or some in your own household but you can meet a mate in the park and excercise for four hours # total contradiction . Must be difficult to please 66m people all wanting differant answers from a 15 minute TV broadcast

    Reply to this comment
  11. Blackbird May 11, 09:35

    I agree with many of the comments, as a single person who lives on their own, why can’t i go and play golf with either one or two other members keeping social distancing. I’ve been volunteering for 7 weeks now shopping for 16 people twice a week, government happy for me to do this. England Golf need to step in and sort out.

    Reply to this comment
  12. happy days May 11, 09:28

    Average length of an 18 hole golf course is between 5000 and 7000 yards and between 110 to 190 acres in area. i personally think the goverment should rethink the numbers concerning golf. you could have a rock concert on that amount of space and still keep social distance

    Reply to this comment
  13. Kyle D May 11, 07:17

    After resigning as a PGA pro in 2013 I was looking to pick some clubs up for the first time in 5 years this summer!

    Hopefully might be able to at some stage….

    Reply to this comment
  14. christopher S May 11, 06:49

    Those of us in Scotland will be able to learn from your experience when the restrictions are lifted here and in Wales and Northern Ireland too.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Graham D May 11, 05:48

    Great news! Looking forward to making my booking at Brampton Park Golf Club!

    Reply to this comment
  16. Copter Pilot May 11, 03:58

    Seems to me it’s ok for the minions to go back to work in confined factories and on the building sites. You can even queue in line six feet apart to get into B&Q to get some totally unnecessary DIY materials. But golfers far too important to risk or can’t be trusted to self distance from a regular playing partner. Utter madness!

    Reply to this comment
  17. Mike V May 11, 02:49

    It will be different, however, hopefully we all understand what an important task lies ahead of us

    Stay safe, play golf

    Reply to this comment
  18. Stuart H May 11, 02:02

    Previous indications were 10 mins between tee times limited to 9 holes. Starting at 7am, mainly singles between 120-150 will be able to play each day.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Tony G May 11, 01:47

    I have been practicing social distancing while playing golf for 20 years. As much as I would like this to not be the case it is unlikely to change anytime soon!

    Reply to this comment
  20. Degsy May 11, 00:22

    My problem is I pick up my father who is the same age as me on the way to the club ,and because of social distancing he will have to run 6ft behind the car .

    Reply to this comment
  21. Frustrated golfer May 10, 23:43

    Agree with all above comments.Be interesting to see from Wednesday how many other members of the public who have walked their dogs and scattered their litter all over our sacred fairways over the last few weeks will react when we tell them politely to “ get off our land I’m teeing off “

    Reply to this comment
  22. Frustrated golfer May 10, 23:38

    Agree with all above comments.Be interesting to see from Wednesday how many other non golfers who have used our courses over the last few weeks will react when we tell them politely to “ get off our land”

    Reply to this comment
  23. GeoffD May 10, 22:30

    Our club has 98 members who live with another member at the same address

    Reply to this comment
    • Kay May 11, 09:59

      it’s also been said you can ‘meet one other NOT from household, in a park’ a little contradictory. I think the PM ought to clarify this. Most golfers are the ONLY one in their household. What’s the point of playing on your own?

      Reply to this comment
    • Darryl May 11, 10:20

      Hi Geoff, Are you happy to discriminate against the rest of your members? Darryl

      Reply to this comment
  24. Keith H May 10, 21:50

    It seemed clear as mud to me? Not sure it does cover Scotland, Nicola seems fairly clear on “Stay at Home”.

    Reply to this comment
  25. TerryW May 10, 21:20

    On one hand you can play, but only with household members….on the other had you can play as long as you keep social distancing…..and to really confuse matters, you can meet someone from another household but keep social distancing…..SO why can’t you play golf with another club member keeping your distance…..VERY CONFUSING

    Reply to this comment
    • Tom May 10, 23:12

      Try playing tennis solo. Surely the powers that be need to clarify this with government asap

      Reply to this comment
      • Blackbird May 11, 09:33

        I agree with many of the comments, as a single person who lives on their own, why can’t i go and play golf with either one or two other members keeping social distancing. I’ve been volunteering for 7 weeks now shopping for 16 people twice a week, government happy for me to do this. England Golf need to step in and sort out.

        Reply to this comment
        • Ade May 11, 16:01

          Play golf with a household member
          I only live with my wife
          She has never played golf in her life

          Reply to this comment
  26. Simon B May 10, 20:46

    Not clear at all, but with all the extremes golf clubs are taking to advise and inform how to get 2 balls playing again it has to be sooner rather than later. The emails from our club alone seem to have more detail and direction than Boris’ entire speech contained this evening

    Reply to this comment
  27. Harry cowell May 10, 20:29

    Do that many families play golf together?

    Reply to this comment
    • Mac May 10, 20:43

      Do they hell if you can meet a person from other household why can’t you play in a two ball keeping your distance ?

      Reply to this comment
      • Cat1 May 10, 21:14

        Yes – there are dozens of married couples who play at my club. Also families with children who play.

        Reply to this comment
      • Chris B May 10, 22:34

        Maybe we will find out more in the next few days.it’s very difficult to really understand what is best.lol the way I play I’ve been distancing for years.

        Reply to this comment
      • Steve May 10, 23:44

        Christ, just stick to the rules and have a solo round.

        Reply to this comment
        • Magsy May 11, 09:57

          I will play on my own, if that’s the only way, but too many golfers playing on their own will narrow down the tee times available for those in households wishing to play , that won’t go down well . A clear understanding of what is allowed would be very useful .

          Reply to this comment
    • Vandy May 11, 00:57

      Social distancing is so easy to maintain on the golf course. Most golfers don’t play with family members. Why not restrict to two-balls with friends, observing 2 metres rule?

      Reply to this comment
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