Petition for golf to stay open quickly hits 100,000 signatures

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 1, 2020 12:50

A petition for golf courses to be allowed to stay open during the November lockdown in England hit 100,000 signatures within just a few hours of launching, as England Golf says it will challenge the government over the decision to close them.

On October 31, the UK government announced that new coronavirus restrictions in England, from November 5 to December 2, would mean that golf courses and driving ranges must close.

The government website gov.uk stated: ‘To reduce social contact, the government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include golf courses and driving ranges.’

The petition figure is significant because 100,000 signatures is the threshold for the UK government to consider any petition on its website for debate in parliament.

The petition is called ‘Exempt golf courses from the list of venues required to close due to Covid-19’.

It states: ‘Isolation [is] essential to the government’s strategy for fighting coronavirus, and UK citizens must remain healthy and exercise whilst keeping adequate distance between people. The government should allow golf courses to open so families or individuals can play golf in order to exercise safely.

‘This could be achieved on golf courses, whether families or individuals are playing rounds. On the course everyone can keep a safe distance from each other. Let’s make use of the space and the open air. Golf can help people stay healthy and happy whilst observing social distancing rules.’

Launched by Montague Florin on November 1, it had achieved more than 110,000 signatures before midday. At one point it was growing at a rate several hundred signatures every minute.

Several people have promoted it on social media.

Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan wrote: ‘Outdoor socially distanced exercise is crucial for well being .. Golf is one sport that could continue.’

Rick Shiels PGA wrote: ‘Signed & shared! Every little helps!’

Presenter Vernon Kay added: Why close golf courses… Exercise! Outdoors! And the way most of my pals play we never see each other for 4hrs!! Fore left!!!

A Texas Medical Association chart rated golf as the same risk as going for a walk, run or bike ride with others. Only tennis ranked safer among sports. Golf participation boomed in 2020 largely because the sport has been seen as a safe one to play during a pandemic.

England Golf CEO Jeremy Tomlinson has also said he will challenge the decision to close golf courses – and that the decision came as a surprise.

“There is an element of confusion around the government’s stated intention to close down golf courses and facilities from Thursday,” he wrote in a letter.

“As a result of this, and with the health of the nation very much at the heart of my thinking, I would like to make clear England Golf’s intention to respectfully challenge the government’s rationale for closing golf courses.

“We will do so utilising all in our network – MPs, colleagues, media and friends – to make sure we are heard by government.

“Listening to the prime minister, the news that he is actively encouraging safe and responsible outdoor exercise for households or two individuals pointed to our great game of golf being at the heart of this policy.

“The guidance which followed stating that golf courses were on a list of venues which should close, therefore, appeared contradictory and came out of the blue.

“At no point was England Golf – as the governing body for the amateur game of golf in this country – consulted about this decision.

Jeremy Tomlinson

“It is our sincere belief that it is now counter-productive to shut down a healthy pursuit which naturally lends itself to social distancing and is played in a Covid-secure manner in the open air.

“With safe and responsible exercising being encouraged by government during the second period of national lockdown, it seems incongruous to call for golf courses to now close.

“Golf is widely acknowledged as a game which is good for the body and soul, with outstanding research reiterating its benefits for the older generation recently shared by The R&A.

“But even without a research paper, the physical benefits of exercising in the open air are obvious and known to all.

“In the current situation, the psychological gains from being able to enjoy a social and safe form of outdoor activity, enjoying a temporary release from the pressures of everyday life probably outweigh the physical.

“I’m aware from the numbers who have signed a national petition that a great many golfers around the country share this belief.

“To be clear, I was also very happy to sign this petition.

“Alongside our colleagues in the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf (APPGG) we will pro-actively continue dialogue with government challenging the current position hard, but with great reason, to allow golf courses to remain open for play (in some format) from Thursday.

“I truly believe this would not, in any way, undermine the huge public health efforts that are going on in the country during these times.

“Golf, in fact, can help us get through this terrible pandemic and be stronger for it once we emerge on the other side.”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 1, 2020 12:50
Write a comment

16 Comments

  1. djm November 3, 14:16

    Petitions : As useful as ashtrays on motorcycles……

    If the 2016 petition to Leave the EU, signed by over 17.4 million people can be ignored, you think a sports quango is going to be listened to ?

    Reply to this comment
  2. ErnieLong November 2, 20:41

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/309851

    This has been closed to stop any further government embarrassment ! Unbelievable

    Reply to this comment
  3. Ray November 2, 18:41

    .two people meeting out of doors not breakking rules.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Ray November 2, 18:39

    two players can play together without breaking rules.
    Also good exercise.

    Reply to this comment
    • Hard hitter November 2, 21:09

      Well Ray I am a male golfer & play twice weekly but dont you notice as i have, people especially men tend to disregard the 2 metre rule maybe not intentionally but it must be safer to simply abide by the Governments requirement to safeguard our NHS for the month now proposed.

      Reply to this comment
      • djm November 3, 14:18

        safeguard the NHS ?

        OK Karen

        stay in your safe space, but in the meantime, let society function & the NHS do its job

        Reply to this comment
  5. Ray November 2, 18:38

    two players can play together without breaking rules.
    Also good exercise and good for wellbeing.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Apers November 2, 18:13

    Why if it was okay to open golf courses during the first lockdown is it not safe to open them now?

    Reply to this comment
  7. ISHY November 2, 16:36

    Golf and tennis are good for your mental & physical health. If its deemed safe for walking,cycling & jogging, golf and tennis should also be allowed. Professional football is being allowed, yet look how busy & contagious penalty areas are, from corners. I am a golfer & a tennis player, at both clubs, we are ultra coved aware & safe. We should not be discriminated against! If there were enough ardent golfers/tennis players in the cabinet, I’m sure the sports would be allowed.

    To all tennis/golfers out there, lets start an Exempt Tennis from the list of venues required to close, due to Covid – 19 petition, as well a golf one. I’m sure there will be a similar response to the golf petition, to get both sports exempted.

    Reply to this comment
  8. ISHY November 2, 16:32

    Golf and tennis are good for your mental & physical health. If its deemed safe for walking,cycling & jogging, golf and tennis should also be allowed. Professional football is being allowed, yet look how busy & contagious penalty areas are, from corners. I am a golfer & a tennis player, at both clubs, we are ultra coved aware & safe. We should not be discriminated against! If there were enough ardent golfers/tennis players in the cabinet, I’m sure the sports would be allowed.

    To all tennis/golfers out there, lets start an Exempt Tennis from the list of venues required to close, due to Covid – 19 petition, as well a golf one. I’m sure there will be a similar response to the golf petition, to get both sports exempted.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Graham D November 2, 12:49

    I really wonder what the chances are. Boris and his Government aren’t sporty people, so I reckon zilch.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Jimi Some Moore November 1, 21:52

    The decision to close golf courses is politically driven. The Government doesn’t want to be seen as allowing a certain section of people to be exempt from lockdown despite it being safer than going to the Supermarket. Golf is good for both physical and mental health and it is a crime to prevent people participating.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Adam C November 1, 20:35

    This is one that would make no sense if they closed. I’m crap at golf but it’s a great way to get some positive time and exercise.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Mo Ismail November 1, 19:49

    I am over seventy and the main exercise I get is golf and can this safely. Please keep golf courses open.

    Reply to this comment
  13. AllenK November 1, 17:44

    Please sign even if it’s only out of compassion for us golfers

    Reply to this comment
  14. PR November 1, 15:17

    Please sign this. Golf in pairs and close the club house apart from a tea stall with bacon rolls? #lockdown2

    Reply to this comment
View comments

Write a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*

RSS Latest Golf Vacancies

  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.

Join Our Mailing List


Read the latest issues

Advertise With Us

To advertise in the magazine or online, contact:

Email marketing@thegolfbusiness.co.uk
Tel 020 7803 2453

Twitter Timeline