Culture secretary hears evidence that golf can be played during a lockdown

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 4, 2020 11:16

The UK’s culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, has been presented with a paper that states that golf can be played safely in line with Covid-restrictions.

It is now hoped that golf courses will not have to close due to coronavirus restrictions in future, as a result of the evidence in the report.

The paper, delivered to him by the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, North Warwickshire MP Craig Tracey, has also been sent direct to the secretary of state for health, the chancellor of the exchequer, the sports minister and the chairman of the digital, media and sport select committee.

Members of parliament in the group representing Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh constituencies will present the paper to ministers in national governments.

Compiled from the work of industry bodies and building on the operational experience established by clubs and facilities throughout the UK, the paper demonstrates that golf has established Covid secure practices including rule changes and other mitigation measures that meet the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ directive. It also highlights that the sport functions in total compliance with these tiered alert levels, and it delivers physical activity and mental wellbeing within the ‘Rule of Six’.

Oliver Dowden MP and Craig Tracey MP

After the meeting, Tracey said: “I am grateful to the secretary of state for taking the time to meet with me today and hear the evidence that golf is a sport that can be played safely during Covid. He recognises the incredibly hard work of golf bodies throughout the UK to ensure this is the case, as well as the outstanding conduct of staff and players involved in the sport in their compliance with government guidance.

“As the paper makes clear, an estimated 20 million full-length rounds of golf took place between June and September 2020 and academic opinion from advisors to the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) indicate that any level of community transmission attributed to playing golf is likely to be extremely low. This is to be expected; not only does golf provide greater social distancing than the likes of walking, running, or cycling in urban settings, those who play do so with enhanced hygiene and social distancing measures implemented and monitored by golf clubs and facilities.

“Armed with the paper, I was able to make clear that in lockdown conditions and at lower Covid-19 alert levels, golf can be played safely within the Rule of Six and without restriction on the number of households.

“I was very pleased to be able to present this, and additionally make the case that that with the well-documented health benefits of playing golf, not only should it be allowed to continue during any future restrictions, the UK and other governments should recognise its importance in supporting people’s physical and mental wellbeing and that ministers and officials should speak to industry bodies about how the sport can be made more accessible to people now, when they need it most.”

Oliver Dowden said: “Due to the head room we got from the difficult national restrictions in November, we can now ensure grassroots sport can reopen across all three tiers. I know the great benefits playing golf and being part of a community club brings, which is why, working with the APPG for Golf, we ensured they would be front of the queue to be reopened. Golf is a fantastic sport with millions playing and watching every week, myself included.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 4, 2020 11:16
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  1. AllenK December 5, 13:52

    Don’t bet on the idiots not doing it again. It’s Whitty who makes the decision anyway not this clown

    Reply to this comment
  2. DGrieshaber December 5, 13:07

    Take him out for a round. if he’s a beginner it will be point proved!

    Reply to this comment
  3. SwilkenBurn December 5, 04:36

    Unfortunately there are many golfers resident in tier 3 areas that are not allowed to travel to play golf at their tier 2 or 1 golf clubs, where they are members. Greater Manchester tier 3 and Cheshire tier 2 are very close. This is supposed to be being looked at by Golf England but they have only just approached the government DCMS, a few days ago. There has been no news. Once again MP Craig Tracey and the government are not telling people the whole story.

    Reply to this comment
    • ErnieLong December 7, 10:05

      Still no news on tier 3 residents playing at tier 2 golf clubs, Ive contacted Golf England but they dont reply, my MP is hopeless too, my golf union the same. Waiting for the tier review on the 16th Dec. After this is all over there needs to be serious questions asked, we have been poorly represented, heads need to roll and lessons learnt.

      Reply to this comment
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