You can play golf in England with someone you do not live with

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 11, 2020 15:40

The government has updated its guidance regarding what people in England can and can not do from Wednesday, May 11, and it now states that you can play golf with someone you do not live with.

Golfers will be allowed to play with a maximum of one other person from a different household.

The R&A has confirmed that golfers can play in groups of up to four if they are from the same household, although this will be up to each golf club’s discretion.

Further clarification concerning pro shops, driving ranges, club fittings and coaching sessions is currently being sought.

Image by Tristan Jones

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a televised address to the nation on Sunday, May “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.”

This led to a confirmation that golf courses in England could reopen on Wednesday, May 13, and shortly afterwards, England Golf, along with several golfing bodies, issued a statement that said: ‘All outdoor sport must be done alone or within a household group and that includes golf.’

However, on Monday afternoon, May 11, new details emerged about what the new rules surrounding social distancing will entail, and the government now specifically states that golfers can play alone, with members of their own household or with other person from outside your household.

‘From Wednesday 13 May, the government will also allow outdoor sports facilities – such as tennis and basketball courts, golf courses and bowling greens – to open, but you should only use these alone, with members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, while keeping two metres apart at all times,’ it states.

A spokesman added: “Government is updating the rules so that, as well as exercise, people can now also spend time outdoors subject to: not meeting up with any more than one person from outside your household; continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres away from people outside your household; good hand hygiene, particularly with respect to shared surfaces; and those responsible for public places being able to put appropriate measures in place to follow the new Covid-19 secure guidance. People may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish.

“You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household – this means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household. People may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there, because this does not involve contact with people outside your household.”

There had been widespread confusion on social media about the policy, which initially implied that people could meet up with others from outside their own homes in parks, but could not play golf with them. That has now been clarified.

It has led to The R&A to issue this statement: ‘The UK government has today provided clarification on outdoor recreation and rules on social distancing in England.

‘These will affect how golf can be played from Wednesday 13 May and, in particular, the configuration of groupings on a golf course.

‘Under new government rules released today (11 May), the following groupings will be permitted upon resumption of play:

  • Individuals playing golf on their own.
  • Two-balls comprising of individuals from different households
  • At the discretion of the golf club, members of the same household playing in two, three or four-balls.

‘Social distancing rules must be strictly adhered to at all times.’

Most clubs will probably need online tee time booking software and supplier Club Systems has said it will offer this at no extra cost to golf clubs to help them quickly get back to normal.

Meanwhile, a golf course that lies in both England and Wales, has said it doesn’t know if it’s allowed to reopen or not.

Llanymynech Golf Club lies on the English-Welsh border and is the only golf course that has some of its holes in England and some in Wales. The fourth hole is in both countries.

Its unique selling point has been that you can play golf in both nations at the venue, but this is now proving to be a source of confusion as English golf courses can reopen on May 11 but it’s not yet known when Welsh golf courses can reopen.

Club secretary Sian Whiteoak told Sky Sports News: “We have put in a number of calls and we await clarification before we make any decisions on what we can do.”

In Scotland, Scottish Golf stated on Monday that its courses would be staying closed under the advice of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

And the Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union have told Northern Ireland’s clubs that they “must remain closed until further notice”.

The communication to the clubs said that the Northern Ireland Executive is expected to detail some changes to exercise rules when it publishes a plan on Tuesday, May 12.

“To determine when golf can resume in Northern Ireland, we will require confirmation from the Northern Ireland Executive,” said the unions.

“In the meantime we are working at protocol documents, for clubs in Northern Ireland, following both the UK and the Republic of Ireland approach.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 11, 2020 15:40
Write a comment


  1. pv May 26, 20:43

    what about 2 family members and a friend

    Reply to this comment
  2. David G May 15, 09:58

    Your a bit late with this news.
    About a million people have already done it.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Jason P May 12, 12:52

    Meanwhile in Scotland, we can walk round our golf course throwing the ball instead

    Reply to this comment
    • David G` May 12, 16:51

      Did the same here in WA USA for over a month, but was able to get my wife to go out on the course with me for the first time ever for a walk 🙂

      Reply to this comment
  4. David OS May 12, 10:42

    Tomorrow morning at Oxford Street tube station a train will depart with 1,128 people on board with 6 people per square metre according to TFL. Fresh air very little.

    Meanwhile at Yelverton GC the first hole situated on Dartmoor with tons of fresh air, is around 180×45 = 8,100 square metres with 2 people allowed on it at any one time.

    Put simply, if the 1st hole at YGC we’re a tube train, 48,600 would be allowed on it. But coz it’s a golf course only 2 are allowed.

    Reply to this comment
  5. David G` May 12, 09:30

    Same rule we have at most US courses that just opened. 4-somes can be with 4 family members only though.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Steve M May 12, 08:12

    Great news and hopefully moving on to get through this terrible pandemic. Stay Safe!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Dave P May 12, 06:28

    I imagine it’s simple really. Where doe the postcode of their clubhouse fall and which Golf Union do they pay their levies to? If, as I suspect, it’s England then the answer is open. If it’s Wales then don’t open.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Jamie O May 11, 16:57

    We’re in business!

    Reply to this comment
  9. Ian S May 11, 16:48

    Would have expected England Golf to be up to Speed with this ?

    Reply to this comment
  10. Caroline B May 11, 16:27

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

    Reply to this comment
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