Golf clubs in Wales can reopen – but golfers must be ‘local’ to them

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 12, 2020 16:26

Golf clubs in Wales can reopen ‘to allow for a managed and coordinated reintroduction of golf across Wales from Monday 18 May’, according to unexpected guidance from Wales Golf.

While this suggests that golf can resume from next Monday, golf clubs are currently seeking clarity, especially as it isn’t clear whether golfers are allowed to drive to them to play golf.

The announcement follows updated guidance from the Welsh government that some golf clubs could reopen in Wales for ‘local members’.

The director of the Welsh government’s Culture, Sport and Tourism department, Jason Thomas, said: “Legal clarification is that golf courses are not included on the list of businesses or establishments that must remain closed – they have never been on that list.

“It’s been other measures in force that has restricted the ability of the clubs to open – travel measures etc, so we have clarified this on the Welsh government website. Do they have to be closed? No.”

This follows the news that golf clubs in England can reopen from Wednesday, May 13, which led to stories such as the one surrounding Llanymynech Golf Club, which has holes in both countries, and didn’t know when it could reopen as golf clubs in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were told the reopening rule does not apply to them.

There is no word yet when golf clubs in Scotland and Northern Ireland can reopen.

In a statement the body says: ‘Following recent Welsh government announcements and the revision of certain Covid-19 related restrictions, golf clubs are permitted to open if they so wish. It is entirely at each golf club’s discretion as to whether they choose to open and, if so, when they choose to do so.

Langland Bay Golf Club in Wales

‘We would advise that clubs that do wish to reopen do not do so immediately so as to ensure they have sufficient protocols in place to adhere to these guidelines, which we will be on hand to assist with.

‘This would allow for a managed and coordinated reintroduction of golf across Wales from next Monday 18 May at the earliest.

‘Wales Golf staff will continue to be available for all clubs in Wales to assist with implementing regulations and guidelines and ensuring any return to play can be conducted safely. Wales Golf would urge all member clubs and golfers to comply with the regulations in a responsible manner.

‘If clubs or members are found to be in breach of these guidelines then it could lead to Welsh government introducing measures that force golf courses to close.’

There remains confusion about what the update from the Welsh government actually means for golf clubs, however, particularly as there doesn’t appear to be a change to travel restrictions for exercise in that country.

A statement from Celtic Manor, host venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup, reads: “We are hoping to reopen our golf courses as soon as is practically possible and have been preparing changes to our playing procedures to ensure the safety of golfers when they are allowed to return.

“Welsh government has today indicated that golf courses can be open as part of permitted exercise, but we have not been advised of any change in its policy preventing people from travelling by vehicle before exercising.

“We are seeking clarification on the Welsh government’s advice because, under the present travel restrictions, only a handful of members would be able to walk to the golf courses to play.”

According to Wales Online: You can only play ‘locally’ but what that actually means appears to be largely down to common sense. It follows the same rules on exercise as a whole.

The Welsh government’s website states: “In general, exercise should not involve people driving away from home to exercise.

“No journeys outside your local area should be taken to exercise in the countryside, at the coast or at other beauty spots, for example – many beauty spots have been closed to prevent people gathering.

“People should not travel a significant distance from their home to exercise.

“We have deliberately not defined this more precisely as it could be seen to be arbitrary and it will also depend on the circumstances – what people perceive to be ‘local’ in Cardiff on the one hand, and in mid Wales on the other, could be quite different.

“People are asked to exercise good judgement and common sense. If you live in Cardiff and have driven to Porthcawl to exercise on the beach, you haven’t stayed local.”

In the Republic of Ireland, golf will also resume on Monday, and there will be a rule that only members of clubs can play, and they will have to live within 5km of their club to be eligible to play. Golfers themselves, rather than the clubs, will be expected to police this, and it appears this will be a similar but less detailed rule in Wales.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 12, 2020 16:26
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  1. Slack May 15, 15:47

    Tesco has people queuing 2 meters apart yet the Welsh government has said only one player can play golf on a golf course you can stay 5 meters apart how ridiculous is this

    Reply to this comment
  2. William M May 12, 19:30

    Scottish Golf announce please…

    Reply to this comment
  3. David F May 12, 18:41

    The whole of UK should have their courses open!!

    Reply to this comment
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