Police tell golf club that some members traveled too far to play

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 21, 2020 11:07

An Irish golf club has been visited by the police, who checked the number plates of vehicles parked in the car park, to make sure no golfers had traveled an ‘unacceptable’ distance to play at the venue.

According to the Irish Times, the club then removed some tee time bookings that had been made.

In the current phase of the lockdown in the Republic of Ireland, people are only allowed to travel a maximum of 5km to exercise. This rule does not apply anywhere else in the British Isles. This rule is self-policed – golf clubs are not expected to enforce it.

The police said it was “unacceptable” that some members of Cahir Park Golf Club were due to travel more than 5km to play at the venue.

About a quarter of Cahir Park’s 800 members are ‘distant members’ – they live more than 40km (about 25 miles) away.

This week the police visited the golf club and checked the registration plates of some of the golfers’ cars in the car park.

Golf club honorary secretary Stephen Costello said he had to cancel tee times for “one or two” distant members from its schedule.

“I phoned them and they understood the situation,” he explained.

“It is not possible for any distant member to play golf at the moment. We have no sympathy for those who have tried to break the guidelines.”

In an email sent to distant members, Costello said the gardaí had told the club that it was “unacceptable” for them to play and warned it to “ensure this does not happen”.

He added: “In view of this instruction we have no alternative but to remove distant members from the BRS booking system with immediate effect. We do hope that you understand the action we have had to take. Each member that has a current booking will be phoned by the club to clarify the situation.

”I think we have been a pretty good model for golf clubs. We can’t police everybody. That’s not our job.

“We have put a lot of effort putting over our message about the 5km and it is a difficult message and also getting over all the protocols you have to put in place.

Cahir Park Golf Club, like many in Ireland, has been very busy since it reopened. Image from Facebook

“You have to look at the infrastructure of the club and a golf club is more challenged now than it has ever been.”
Costello lives eight kilometres away from the club and has not set foot in it since March 24.

“It’s a huge frustration and I have things to do with regard to employment and I having to do it all at home, but that’s my commitment to Covid-19 and the golf course,” he added.

Golfing Union of Ireland spokesman Alan Kelly said it had told golfers from “day one” that golf club members must comply with the travel restrictions.

The golf industry in Ireland is seeing a surge of membership applications, much like in England.

Dunmurry Golf Club in Belfast has received dozens of new applications for membership.

General manager Colin Adair said: “I am absolutely delighted. The car park is full and there are lots of happy faces about the place.”

The club has received almost 30 new applications in the last few days.

Dunmurry opened in 1905 and has around 600 playing members. Only members of clubs can resume playing under the relaxations.

And in Scotland, the only country in the UK where golf is still not allowed to be played, a Scottish golf club has received a donation as a “thank-you” from a couple who have been using it for their daily exercise during the coronavirus lockdown.

The kind gesture has been made to Old Ranfurly Golf Club in Renfrewshire after the course was opened up to local residents to walk on.

In a letter sent to the club secretary, the donor said: “I want you to know how much my wife and I appreciate taking our permitted exercise by walking on your course.

“We have lived here for 37 years and I have never ventured on to it despite being an avid golfer. Having seen it I am now looking forward to
playing it.

“But I feel that I am taking too much of a liberty by not being a paid up member. I hope that you will understand that already being a member of three clubs at my age a fourth would be extravagant. So please accept this cheque as a mark of my appreciation.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 21, 2020 11:07
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  1. supermac May 22, 06:21

    5k rule is surely a joke?

    Reply to this comment
  2. Chantilla May 22, 05:19

    Seriously golfers should be the least of everyone problems! Focus on what matters …..

    Reply to this comment
  3. Peter May 21, 18:02

    Rules are Rules ! Especially in times of crisis, we need to obey rules and enforce them !! Primary markets differ, knowledge of where your members, guests and customers are coming from is valuable and important !! If your club is not a “neighborhood property” with members or others driving longer distances, we must engage and communicate !!!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Mike D May 21, 13:16

    I have a friend that got booted a couple of weeks ago for playing across county lines here in Florida. Rules are rules, and our county sheriff has been concerned about neighboring counties spreading the virus north – for instance, the beach is open for county residents, and they’re checking id.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Andy S May 21, 12:14

    Good on the cops.

    Reply to this comment
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