18% of golfers claim to have seen ‘Covid transmission risks’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 5, 2021 07:12

A survey of 1,000 UK-based golfers has found that nearly one-in-five golfers claimed they witnessed ‘Covid-19 transmission risks’ while playing golf recently – even though research shows transmission risks on golf courses are ‘extremely low’.

Eighteen percent of golfers said they witnessed, most commonly, ‘poor social distancing’, or touching flagpoles, which was the second most common risk. Someone touching a rake was the third most cited occurrence.

While some golfers may have reported seeing actions that they perceived to be as risky, new research has found that the ‘level of Covid-19 transmission from playing golf is likely to be extremely low, and has even led to calls that an expert in physical activity joins the UK’s SAGE advisory group.

This also comes as additional research finds that the chance of being infected with Covid while outdoors is ‘massively reduced’, with scientists finding that the risks are especially low in fully open spaces.

Researchers found that fresh air disperses and dilutes the virus, and it helps to evaporate the liquid droplets in which it is carried.

On top of that, ultraviolet light from the sun should kill any virus that’s out in the open.

As for the virus being on outdoor surfaces such as flagpoles, many scientists now think that the amount of virus likely to be left on a surface would be minimal, and would disperse within an hour or two.

“The chance of transmission through inanimate surfaces [outdoors] is very small,” says Prof Emmanuel Goldman of Rutgers University.

Meanwhile, the Skilled Golf survey found that views about closing golf courses due to the pandemic differ significantly according to age groups.

Younger and older golf courses are more in favour of the severe restrictions that have been brought in in England, Wales and Ireland, while those aged 45 to 60 are almost entirely opposed to the closures.

A huge 97 percent of golfers aged 45 to 60 are opposed to course closures.

However, golfers over 60 were 10 times more likely to support course closures than their middle-aged counterparts. Just 70 percent of over 60s were against closure, and just 79 percent of golfers aged 18 to 44 felt the same way.

In total, it means about one in five golfers across the UK, including in Scotland where courses are currently open, believe golf courses should be closed at the moment.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 5, 2021 07:12
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  1. Josh January 10, 22:26

    If we’ve learned anything about COVID, we’ve learned that the risks are everywhere.

    Golf courses aren’t perfect environments, but the risk level at most venues is so much lower than almost any indoor entertainment option. If you’re going to eat at a restaurant or go grocery shopping, you’re taking a much bigger risk.

    The mental health benefits of breathing fresh air and seeing the sun shine seem to far outweigh the small chance that COVID is lurking in the shadows of the fairway.

    Get vaccinated and bring some Clorox wipes for the golf cart (or just walk the course).

    Reply to this comment
  2. Woolly Hat February 6, 15:48

    This tallies with golfers at my club – about 4 in 5 just want to play golf and don’t think the course should be closed. One in five have overreacted to the fear of the pandemic and think everything is a risk and everything should be closed. Many of them may never come back to the club (or even leave their house) again

    Reply to this comment
  3. ErnieLong February 6, 00:50

    One word and thats too rude to say !

    Reply to this comment
  4. SteveW February 5, 15:53

    All very low risk, and no greater risk than being handed change on a shop, touching a rail on the tube or sitting down on a park bench surely?

    Reply to this comment
  5. JM February 5, 14:32

    All rakes should have been removed from bunkers – and have been from my course since we re-opened last May. Also, you are not supposed to touch the flagstick at all. It stays in place whilst putting.

    The stats don’t seem very realistic to me, and the attached article is very badly written.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Hucklesby February 5, 13:57

    This isn’t helpful nor factual. Where does the report get this information from, absolute rubbish. Poor reporting The Golf Business. Skilled Survey, sorry never heard of it!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Webbo February 5, 10:52

    It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that playing golf is any where near as dangerous as the things we are allowed to do on a daily basis during lockdown.
    For example… exercising in public parks and streets with no control.
    Shopping in supermarkets indoors with very little control measures.
    Golf is open air and is a 1 way system that has had measures implemented and accepted by government to play safely during lockdowns.
    It is way down the list of things that could cause the spread of covid and played correctly it has zero risk and massive gains to the whole communities health and well being.
    Not only is it safe and healthy for golfers it removes millions of golfers from the already overcrowded supermarkets, parks, beaches, streets etc.

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