Several golf courses in Wales have already reopened

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 17, 2020 05:57

Some golf clubs in Wales have already reopened and allowed golf to be played on them provided it is with only a maximum of one other golfer who they live with, according to reports.

Just before English golf courses reopened it was revealed that golf clubs in Wales can reopen ‘to allow for a managed and coordinated reintroduction of golf across Wales from Monday 18 May’. This guidance also suggested that golfers had to be ‘local’ to the course they were playing at.

Several golf clubs in Wales have reopened before the May 18, date, however, and, according to Wales Online, ‘confusion reigns over how far people can travel to play a round of golf,’ as the Welsh government’s website states:“People are asked to exercise good judgement and common sense.”

Derllys Court Golf Club has, for example, reopened on Wednesday, May 13, the same day most clubs in England reopened. As a rural club, members have arrived by car.

One member, who lives a few miles away from the course, said they had not travelled “a significant distance” from home in order to play, adding that it is difficult to ascertain what that would be defined as anyway without concrete guidelines.

“We’ve been closed since March 23,” said Rhian Walters, who manages Derllys Court Golf Club along with her parents and her brother.

“We’ve been managing the course throughout that time and liaising closely with Wales Golf, who have been supporting us from the beginning, helping us to get prepared and making sure that we have everything in place, which is why we can open now, before May 18.

Derllys Golf Club. Image (from before the lockdown) from Facebook

“It’s great to have people back on the course and the vibe has been brilliant. I’ve been inundated with messages and calls and the people here are just happy to be back. I have kept in touch with the members throughout this period, just making sure that they are alright and showing that we care.

“Membership fees were due in April and a lot of people were happy to pay for the year because they care about the golf club and its future.”

Unlike in England, golfers can only play in groups of a maximum of two at Derllys Court, and only if they live with the other person.

Member Teifryn Bowen said: “Obviously I would prefer to play with somebody else but for the moment that’s not possible.

“Hopefully things will continue to get better, but for now it’s just nice to be on the course.

“I don’t get many other opportunities for exercise – just work and golf – so it’s great to be back.”

Another member said: “I’ve never seen so many couples out on the course. The last time we played it was winter conditions so to see like this is fantastic. We only found out on Tuesday so we quickly managed to book a tee time.

Welshpool Golf Club has already reopened.

A club spokesperson said: “The decision to start with ‘golf only’ has been made following discussions with Golf Wales. For now, players must play by themselves or with members of their household only. They will also need to book a tee time before coming to the club.”

Llanymynech Golf Club has also reopened, according to reports.

To add to the confusion, a spokesperson for Cardigan Golf Club in Wales told The Golf Business on social media that the club has been advised by its county council to not open until June 1.

The user wrote: ‘Due to a request from the county council we will not open next week and instead open June 1st . All work had been done signs put up ,course ready and areas roped off. Shame but what can you do !!’

In a follow-up tweet, they added: ‘It wasn’t an order it was a request. We could have said no.’

Update: Ceredigion County Council and Dyfed Powys Police have requested that Aberystwyth Golf Club, Borth and Ynyslas Golf Club, Cardigan Golf Club, Cilgwyn Golf Club, Cwmrhydneuadd Golf Club and Penrhos Golf Club all remain closed until June.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 17, 2020 05:57
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4 Comments

  1. Peter May 16, 17:04

    Not unusual in times of crisis !! In these real-life challenges when critical thinking is at its’ highest levels, we observe, interpret and often change our original thoughts or directions !! Likely, something was found, noticed or troublesome !

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  2. Gerraint May 16, 13:18

    There is no confusion. Legally golf courses in Wales, (and for that matter in any of the three other UK countries) were never forced to close. It was however likely to be illegal for most people to travel to a golf course for ‘exercise’ if they had appropriate opportunitues for exercise nearer home. In this context it did not make sense to open, because of the difficulties in discriminating between someone living 100 yards from a club or twenty miles from a club. Additionally Wales Golf made a statement that golf must stop. Even then looking at the language it was not an order to stop just a statement of the Governing Body’s opinion. A club could have said, no we don’t think golf must stop, because the law doesn’t require it to stop, it is the golfer’s responsibility to ensure that their travel to the club is compliant with the Coronavirus Restrictions, just as it is their responsibility to ensure their car is taxed, MOTed and insured before they drive to the club. Golf Clubs therefore voluntarily closed. Last Monday at 4.00pm the law changed and allowed local travel for exercise, this then made it easier for more people to get to a golf course. The situation in Ceredigion is legally the same. The Council have no power to require courses to close, they have made a request which the clubs have abided by. I will though speculate about the rationale. There is in some parts of Wales, (particularly areas which attract tourists) a massive concern about second home owners travelling to Wales during the pandemic. There is also concern that the relaxation of restrictions on travel in England may lead to people thinking they can travel to Wales for leisure purposes when in fact it is against the law here. I would imagine the local council are very worried if courses are open it sends a signal that Cardigan is open for leisure. I would imagine the golf clubs being part of their local communities have decided that they wish to support this position. Clearly for clubs nearer urban areas like Cardiff, Swansea or the Valleys this issue does not arise so much. So this is not a case of confusion, more a case of local decision making appropriate for different areas. Just as Wales makes different decisions to England to better suit different conditions here, local communities within Wales are making different decisions to suit different circumstances. Wales is not England, Cardigan is not Cardiff.

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  3. Peter May 15, 16:36

    Traveling distances, between towns, counties etc. can be dangerous and have devastating effects !! Coordination, sounds like they have, with local authorities and associations are wise ! Policies are good as long as numbers of cases and deaths have leveled off, or on decline !! Most are opening way too early !! Here in Arizona, many never closed and numbers keep rising !!! In times of crisis, experience tells me, people have to be told what to do with Brutal Honesty !! It upsets people but real leaders know its value…accountability !!

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