Competition golf in England is resuming – and demand for it is huge

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 12, 2020 06:59

Several golf clubs across England are reintroducing competition golf – with some saying the number of entries they’re receiving is in the hundreds of golfers.

Golf courses in England reopened last month and have seen unprecedented demand. However, so far almost all the golf played has been social.

This is about to change, with some golf clubs now hoping to be able to play most or even all the competitions that were lost due to the lockdown, with a full schedule for several months ahead.

Russell Price, PGA professional at Ludlow Golf Club in Shropshire, has told the Ludlow Advertiser that the demand for competitive golf is very strong at the moment. The club will allow competitions from the end of June, and it’s already seeing hundreds of golfers sign up.

He said: “We’ve just started to open up competitions at the end of this month and we’ve had almost double the entries there would be normally, from 80 to 160.

“We’ve been snowed under, it’s been pretty much non-stop. The course is full most days.

“Perhaps people who have taken golf for granted now realise what a healthy sport it is – it’s played outdoors in a nice, clean environment, you get exercise and social distancing is comfortable.

“So, people who can’t play other indoor sports at the moment or who are unable to be spectators at outdoor sports because of the restrictions, maybe they are realising it’s a great sport to play.”

South Cliff Golf Club in Yorkshire’s manager, Shaun Smith, told The Scarborough News: “We restarted our fixtures from last Saturday.

“We have decided that as long as we follow the ‘safe golf’ guidelines laid down by England Golf then there is no reason why we can’t resume competitive golf.

“I have re-jigged the fixture list to include eight competitions we lost in the lockdown, we now have a full schedule right through to October.”

Ganton Golf Club in Yorkshire is setting its sights on returning to competitive action next month.

Secretary Gary Pearce said: “We are currently preparing the course and setting up policies and local rules so that our members can return to competition golf in July – for now they are playing social golf only.

“We had to cancel an international match between England and France in May due to ‘shutdown’ however now things are starting to open up again, we are experiencing strong demand and our events and bookings look very good.

“Subject to no further restrictions we hope to be able to rearrange matches and competitions that were cancelled from March to May.

“We will not be fully operational until the clubhouse facilities reopen, and we have completed our plans to ensure a safe opening with appropriate social distancing measures, ready for when we receive permission to reopen the restaurant and lounge areas of the clubhouse.”

England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson said the return of competition golf is very welcome.

“I believe the 1 June date was a good time to re-introduce a competitive element to play for those who wanted it,” he said.

Jeremy Tomlinson

“Safety must always remain the priority, but there’s no reason why competitions cannot take place within the regulations.

“Here at England Golf, championship director James Crampton and his team are working towards our own events starting back on 28 July.

“We wanted to offer light at the end of the tunnel by keeping a revised schedule in place and that shaft of sunshine is getting brighter by the day.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 12, 2020 06:59
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2 Comments

  1. Rozelle June 12, 16:19

    Fantastic news!

    Reply to this comment
  2. GolfingSteve7 June 12, 10:04

    This is all well and good but presumably players will still be refused access to clubhouses as is currently the case and, if they want something to eat and drink afterwards, will have to have it outside in groups of no more than six.

    How will clubs accommodate this as they must all be losing huge sums due to no food and beverage sales due to safety fears?

    At the moment my club does not even let us have scorecards so will they now be released?

    The social side of golf, that joy of meeting up in the spike bar afterwards, has been destroyed by Covid19 and I struggle to see, if social distancing is to continue, how it is ever going to change come particularly on those days when it is cold and/.or wet and lots of people want to be indoors.

    The future, for all these bullish statements, is still very precarious for a large number of clubs.

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