Golf courses to remain open in England but must close in Wales and Northern Ireland

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 19, 2020 18:25

Golf courses in Tier 4 in England can remain open but venues in Wales and Northern Ireland must close, according to new coronavirus restrictions.

In Tier 4 areas in England pro shops must close, but some coaching is allowed and, crucially, golf can be played either by people on their own or in two-balls, even with a person from a different household.

The UK government website states that golf courses in London and the south east are allowed to remain open as that area enters Tier 4. 

A spokesman for The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf said: “In Tier 4 areas, golf courses can remain open for individuals playing with members of their own household or support bubble, or with one person from another household.

“As usual, social distancing is to be observed and all necessary steps are to be taken to ensure a COVID-19 secure environment.

“Under Tier 4 restrictions, non-essential retail – including pro shops and golf retailers – must close. ‘Click and Collect’ will, however, be permitted.

“Outdoor coaching will be allowed on an individual basis or for multiple members of the same household or support bubble. Indoor coaching will be not be permitted.

“There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes, and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing.

“Custom fitting can take place outside on a one-to-one basis but is not permitted indoors.

“Some golf ranges can be classified as indoor settings, but it would be for each facility to read and interpret the guidelines against their own venue – it is suggested that if confirmation is required they contact their local authority who will be best placed to advise.”

The government states for people in Tier 4 that: ‘People can exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities. You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble or one other person.’

ln Wales, a lockdown that was scheduled to begin on December 28 has been brought forward by nine days and all golf courses have been forced to close – for at least three weeks.

Government documents state that leisure and fitness facilities (gyms, swimming pools, fitness studios), sports courts, enclosed pitches and golf courses will all be closed under the new restrictions.

Organised indoor activities will be limited for public and voluntary services, while organised outdoor activities will not be possible.

Professional, elite and designated sports and training will be permitted, however.

“We realise this will be difficult for those sectors that have been severely constrained, closed for long periods, or who have not been able to restart at all since the lockdown in March. We will work with those sectors to put in place plans for gradually restarting activity in the spring and summer of next year, should conditions permit it,” said a Welsh government spokesman.

Meanwhile, the Golfing Union of Ireland has confirmed that clubs in Northern Ireland must close for six weeks. ‘It is with regret that we must advise that golf clubs must close with effect from 00.01 on Saturday 26 December 2020. This closure is scheduled to last for six weeks but is subject to a formal review after four weeks,’ it says in a statement.

‘From 00:01 26 December to 1 January inclusive (ends at 00:01 on 2 Jan), no sporting events permitted at all, even at elite level. Elite athletes permitted to train between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Outdoor sports and exercise facilities including activity centres, equestrian centres, golf courses, marinas and venues relating to motor sport and water sport must close. Indoor sports and exercise facilities, including soft play areas, leisure centres, climbing facilities, rinks, gyms, swimming pools, equestrian centres and venues relating to sports activity must close.

‘Outdoor exercise permitted only as an individual or with members of your own household.

‘From 00:01 2 January 2021, outdoor gatherings for the purposes of exercise or sport are only permitted for elite athletes, for the purposes of PE in or for schools, or if participants are members of the same household.

‘Outdoor sports and exercise facilities including activity centres, equestrian centres, golf courses, marinas and venues relating to motor sport and water sport must close.

‘Indoor sport is only permitted for elite athletes or for PE in, or for, schools. Indoor sports and exercise facilities, including soft play areas, leisure centres, climbing facilities, rinks, gyms, swimming pools, equestrian centres and venues relating to sports activity must close. Elite training and competition can continue, both indoors and outdoors.’

Last month the UK’s culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, was presented with a paper that states that golf can be played safely in line with Covid-restrictions.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 19, 2020 18:25
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4 Comments

  1. djm December 23, 12:33

    Well indeed.

    But the sooner people wake up & realise this government response is NOT about a virus, the better

    Reply to this comment
  2. Sax December 21, 18:30

    What is the point of telling people to open their windows to let the virus blow through the house. If you can’t then do activities where there is nothing but open air. These people need to hand their wages back. What about people’s mental health and well being. There’s already a high suicidal rate in the north of Ireland.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Daynes December 20, 16:36

    This is nonsensical. Where is the scientific justification that closing golf COURSES ie. the outside bit where nobody comes within yards of each other, is the correct course of action to reduce Covid cases? By all means close the clubhouses to avoid transmission, but it’s hard to see the difference between walking the dog or jogging in a public park (which I assume is still allowed) and walking around a golf course.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Raymondo December 20, 13:50

    Every effort should be made to keep open all sports that Can be played safely even under tier 4 rules.
    For the mental well-being of thousands the Welsh Government should reconsider

    Reply to this comment
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