Golf courses in England can open from Wednesday 13 May
Golf courses in England are able to reopen, but with strict restrictions in place
The UK Government has announced that golf will be able to resume in England on Wednesday 13 May 2020.
All outdoor sport must be done alone or within a household group and that includes golf. There is no change to the current position in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and so golf courses in these countries must remain closed for now.
Reacting to the Prime Minister's statement on Sunday 10 May, BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: "The Association has welcomed the news that golf has been identified as a sport that is able to resume in England, from Wednesday.
"While it will come as a great relief to golfers in England that they are able to play, we must echo the Prime Minister’s statement that this battle is not yet won. Golf, along with a select few other non-contact sports, is in the privileged position that it is able to resume, but we must remember that a return to our favourite sport must be done in a safe and vigilant manner.
"BIGGA also notes that the news relates only to golf clubs in England. BIGGA has many members in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and while golf clubs in these nations are unable to reopen at present, we will continue to support them however we can.
"Throughout this difficult period BIGGA and The R&A have collaborated to produce guidelines on the essential maintenance that is permitted to take place to allow golf clubs to remain in recoverable condition. The news that golf clubs in England are to reopen will necessitate an update of these guidelines and these will be issued in the coming days. There may also be a revision of essential maintenance guidelines for those clubs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that are unable to open at present.
"It is vital that the resumption of play takes place in a safe manner and this includes a heightened awareness by golfers of greenkeepers and those working around the course. The industry guidelines produced recently are seen as best practice in this situation."
Events like BIGGA National and other golf events will not be able to take place under the current restrictions
The joint statement from golf's governing bodies and other relevant parties continues:
It is important to stress that this remains an extremely difficult situation throughout the UK and we are acutely aware that many lives have been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects of the virus will continue to be felt for a long time to come. As a sport we must work together to resume play responsibly as and when the relevant Government determines it is safe to do so. We must ensure that the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved from golfers, to club staff and greenkeepers is maintained at all times. Golf clubs and golfers have observed the lockdown very well and must keep it up and act responsibly as play resumes.
We recently provided documents giving guidance on operations and resuming play and golf clubs should consider this carefully as they restart their businesses. We also provided Essential Maintenance Guidelines to help greenkeepers to prepare their courses for play. We fully appreciate the huge amount of expertise that exists within golf clubs throughout the country and this best practice guidance simply aims to achieve as consistent an approach as possible to protecting everyone. We are seeking further clarification from the Government regarding other golf-related facilities.
The pandemic has already had a substantial impact on golf clubs and venues and the focus will soon turn to trying to recover from the crisis. As a group we will continue to do all we can to provide support and guidance in that effort.
These organisations have come together to help golf in the UK during the COVID-19 crisis and, through the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, to work with Government to promote safe golf: The Belfry; the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association; the British Golf Industry Association; England Golf; the Golf Club Managers’ Association; Golf Ireland; the Golfing Union of Ireland; the Irish Ladies’ Golf Union; IMG; The Professional Golfers’ Association; PING; The R&A; Scottish Golf; Syngenta; the UK Golf Federation; Wales Golf.