The PGA, England Golf and Golf Ireland all call for golf to resume

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 19, 2021 07:08

Senior members of three of the biggest golfing organisations in the British Isles have all called for golf courses to reopen, stating that the game can be played safely.

Golf courses in Ireland and Wales closed in December, and in England in January, but research has found that the ‘level of [Covid-19] transmission from playing golf is likely to be extremely low’. The UK government has revealed it hasn’t tracked Covid data specifically in relation to golf, but has suggested that the game will be the first to reopen in England after schools go back on March 8.

The chief executive of the Professional Golfers’ Association, Robert Maxfield, recently wrote to Northern Ireland’s first minister, Arlene Foster, asking for the venues to reopen.

He pointed to the “undeniable health and mental wellbeing benefits that golf offers to a significant proportion of the country” while also stating his belief that the sport has proven its capability to continue in a covid-safe manner.

“The average golf course covers a 60-hectare space, which on average would see only 96 people on it at any one time, which makes it the perfect setting for people of all ages and abilities to get their daily exercise in an extremely safe environment,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, the governing body for golf across Ireland has now also appealed to the Stormont Executive to reopen courses as soon as possible.

“We’re saying that golf should be being played at the moment,” said Golf Ireland regional manager Kevin Stevens.

“We’re wanting to see it come back as soon as it’s possible and allow people to get out and exercise. It’ll help their mental health and there are a whole lot of other benefits to playing the sport.”

At the same time, Jeremy Tomlinson, CEO of England Golf, has written to Boris Johnson.

“Golf is a sport played safely in the open air with social distancing part and parcel of every round,” he wrote.

“You will recall that last month, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf presented government with an updated scientific paper which once again demonstrated clearly how golf can be played safely during any stage of a pandemic.

“In short, golf remains a sport that’s safe and good for both body and soul.

“Our golfing community has struggled without access to the game they love. For many, the mental hardships have been tougher to endure than the physical ones.

“We see no reason why golf can’t be one of the first sports to return, to help with the healing process for our country, and to ensure that the sun can once again shine on us all through the 2021 season.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 19, 2021 07:08
Write a comment


  1. ErnieLong February 24, 02:11

    Good luck with that Golf England ! I hope you can pull something off and save your jobs, if not what do you actually do ?

    Reply to this comment
  2. Stocks February 21, 19:48

    Totally agree that, where there is risk, there should be caution.
    However, as there has been the odd plane crash over the years, do you ban air travel?
    Perspective please people.

    Reply to this comment
  3. tourgolfer February 20, 21:51

    Its for the Government to decide when it is appropriate for Golf to resume and pressure being applied by these Golfing bodies is simply not appropriate. Because of my wife’s serious illness I played golf taking great care to social distance at all times and never once went into the Clubhouse or Professional shop. But I did notice a lot of members were not following the guidelines. On one occasion I even saw 2 members sharing an electronic cigarette. On leaving the Golf Course every single person was required to use a key pad at the barrier how can that be safe. I will finish where I started golf should not resume until the Government feels it is safe to do so.

    Reply to this comment
  4. LincolnB February 20, 15:35

    The reasons are equity and reducing socialisation to zero.
    Besides, weather has been abysmal and courses will be in better shape than they have been in a long time.

    Reply to this comment
  5. GoodBetterBest February 20, 12:11

    Appreciate the efforts of the Unions etc. but they aren’t health experts. I’ve seen golf being played post covid and in the earlier parts of the round players seem to keep their distance but it’s not long before that changes and old habits resume. For me, it is not an essential service and the staff should be protected from engagement with 100 visitors a day. The measure at present (Ireland) are designed to reduce the case load and as such, the death toll. If it saves one life, it’s worth it, it’s only golf!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Hotel Logistics February 20, 09:45

    Cannot understand any argument against resumption of play under the right conditions. Its ridiculous

    Reply to this comment
  7. SCopeland February 19, 13:50

    I’m an avid golfer and desperate to get back out there.

    However, I can see why we’re still not allowed. Reasons include fairness, non essential journeys to and fro, and the gatherings that take place in the car park with beers out of the boot.

    Having seen first hand the devastation caused by this virus, I’m happy to give it a little while longer.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Strand February 19, 10:58

    As long as the clubs have put all the procedures and protection policies in place then the risk is minimal, clubs should be working on a final roadmap to ensure that they are ready to deliver their product to their customers at the earliest opportunity

    Reply to this comment
  9. Stocks February 19, 10:17

    Potentially persuasive stuff, but I fear too late to affect 22nd Feb’s announcement.
    Such a shame this wasn’t raised and vigorously pursued weeks ago…

    Reply to this comment
    • Gabriel Ice February 19, 12:07

      In fairness, I think they have been careful with their timing and have got it right.
      Pointless going too early and being easy to ignore.
      Good to see someone trying, outdoor sports have been totally shafted so far and no-one believes it’s helping fight the virus.

      Reply to this comment
      • Webbo February 20, 09:45

        Too little too late…. Golfing leaders should of been vigorously campaigning against the closure of golf from 4th January… it was proved safe during the restrictions with the play safe measures put in place and endorsed by the government. Perhaps rather than wasting time promoting non member golfers ability to enjoy paying members courses and facilities for free , Jeremy should of been concentrating on this very important issue for golf club members.

        Reply to this comment
      • Stocks February 22, 10:17

        Sadly it looks like they didn’t get it right.

        Earlier vociferous lobbying and golf could well have been in the 8th March changes, why oh why did the golf bodies take so long to do something?!

        Reply to this comment
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