Here’s when and how golf clubhouses can reopen in England and Ireland

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 24, 2020 15:12

Golf clubs in England and the Republic of Ireland have now been given a firm date for when they can reopen their clubhouses – plus the process they must follow to do this.

It is also looking likely that Scottish golf clubs will be allowed to reopen their clubhouses on July 10.

As expected, following the announcement by the prime minister that bars and restaurants can reopen in England on July 4, golf clubhouses can also reopen on that date.

This has been revealed in a joint statement issued by golfing associations such as the PGA, BIGGA and the GCMA, and comes with the strict caveat that clubs must prove that their premises are ‘COVID safe’.

‘In the first instance, a risk assessment should be carried out, the details of which should be shared with your workforce. For organisations of over 50 employees, this should be published on your website,’ says the statement.

‘In order to make it more viable for the hospitality industry to open, the government has given scope to relax the current two metres social distancing rules in certain instances in favour of ‘one metre plus’, which means remaining one metre apart while taking other mitigation to reduce the risk of transmission.’

Other measures are to include keeping a temporary record of customers for 21 days to assist with NHS ‘Track and Trace’ requests; providing clear guidance on arrival of social distancing and hygiene measures in place at the venue; and utilising contactless payment wherever possible.

Clubs will also be required to calculate the maximum number of customers it can safely accommodate, taking into account social distancing guidelines.

Table service should also be offered with a designated server wherever possible. In instances where bar or counter service is unavoidable, provisions have to be made to prevent customers from remaining at the bar after ordering.

The statement added: ‘All involved in golf in England should review the full guidance as soon as possible so they can begin putting in place the necessary steps to ensure your business can continue to open-up safely.’

There is no mention of golf club changing rooms in the statement.

In Scotland, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that the country’s pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen from July 15, with the five-mile travel restriction to be lifted from July 3.

Scottish Golf has stated that nothing should be taken at the moment. ‘Scottish Golf welcomes the announcement from Nicola Sturgeon, setting out further details of Scotland’s route map out of lockdown,’ it says in a statement.

‘There were several key dates announced which may impact our affiliated clubs. These dates remain dependant on continued progress to suppress the virus and Scottish Golf will continue to work in partnership with the Scottish government, sportscotland and other partners from across the golf industry to provide updated guidance for all affiliated clubs and golfers in the coming days and weeks ahead.”

In the Republic of Ireland, golf clubs can reopen from Monday, June 29.

The Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union are also permitting clubs to include four-balls on their timesheets at 10-minute intervals from Monday rather than the current 14-minute gap between groups, while visitors will also be welcome alongside members.

Competition golf will resume, all travel restrictions will be lifted, and clubhouse restaurants and bars operating as restaurants can open under strict guidelines outlined by Fáilte Ireland.

‘Full adherence to the provisions of this protocol is absolutely essential. Golf was in the very privileged position to have been allowed to resume in Phase 1 and this return was based on the sport being able to demonstrate to government that it can take place in a safe, socially distant manner,’ the unions say in a statement.

‘The high level of compliance shown thus far is a credit to the sport, but these efforts must be redoubled as clubs begin competitions and welcome visitors for the first time in a number of months.’

Announcements surrounding clubhouses in Northern Ireland and Wales are expected shortly.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 24, 2020 15:12
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  1. Steve June 25, 08:38

    I believe it is the 15th July in Scotland not the 10th.

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