‘All UK golf courses must now close’

By Alistair March 29, 2020 13:17

England Golf, Scottish Golf and Wales Golf have all issued statements saying that their affiliated clubs must close with immediate effect and that golfers should stay at home.

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The prime minister issued an extraordinary statement to the nation at 8.30pm on March 23 saying that the country was effectively in lockdown due to coronavirus. It wasn’t immediately clear what this meant for golf courses as parks are not being closed down and we are allowed to leave the home once a day for a walk, but the industry appears to have quickly united with a clear message.

‘Following on from the prime minister’s statement of 23 March, golf clubs, courses and facilities in England must now close,’ says a statement from England Golf.

‘It is England Golf’s position that this deeply regrettable, but highly necessary and responsible course of action must be implemented with immediate effect and be maintained until further notice.

‘The government has identified an urgent need to introduce new restrictions on public life and on non-essential businesses opening their doors.

‘This has been done to limit the spread of the coronavirus and relieve the growing pressure on our National Health Service.

‘Keeping golf courses open is simply no longer compatible with the updated policy of government which is designed to save lives in a time of national emergency.

‘The health and wellbeing of the nation is the only consideration that matters at this moment in our history.

‘These are incredibly testing times for the country. The golf industry cannot be shielded from the economic and social ramifications caused by this temporary shutdown of normal life.

‘We would like to assure the golfing community that England Golf staff will continue to work remotely with all affiliated golfers, clubs and counties to try and minimise the damage caused by this suspension of regular golf club life.

‘We will continue to signpost clubs and counties to the latest government advice and schemes designed to help the economy cope with the disruption caused by coronavirus.’

‘While golf is an outdoor sport that allows players to exercise in the fresh air, the message to all of us is clear, we must stay home and play our part in containing the spread of COVID-19,’ adds Scottish Golf.

‘With this in mind, Scottish Golf asks that all golfers in Scotland refrain from golfing until further notice.

‘We understand that this advice will have a significant impact on golf clubs across the country and we will continue to consult with industry partners to provide clubs with all information and support possible during this time of deep uncertainty.

‘We know that these decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow the government guidelines. In doing so, this will ensure that we get the opportunity to play the game that we all love as soon as it is safe to do so.’

Wales Golf tweeted: ‘Following the P.M.’s statement it is clear that golf clubs, courses & facilities must close with immediate effect. Keeping golf courses open is simply no longer compatible with gov policy which is designed to save lives in a time of national emergency.’

Jim Croxton, the CEO of greenkeeping association BIGGA, added: ‘My understanding of the impact of tonight’s announcement – golf courses should close immediately. In my view some maintenance of courses is essential. We are lobbying for that to be more than the bare minimum, otherwise golf will take months to recover when the crisis is over.’


By Alistair March 29, 2020 13:17

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