I’m a greenkeeper in Ireland or Northern Ireland – what can I do?

12 January 2021 COVID-19
© David Edmondson Early morning course maintenance at Dublin GC



Golf courses in Northern Ireland were required to close on 26 December 2020 and have remained that way since, with the latest update provided by the Golf Union of Ireland on 2 January 2021 reaffirming this position.

However, as we detailed in the recent guidance distributed at the onset of the latest UK lockdown, BIGGA is keen to impress that no restrictions on activities will be placed upon the activities available to greenkeeping teams, as was seen during the original March 2020 lockdown with the Essential Maintenance guidelines and subsequent updates. Rather, greenkeeping teams are asked to act responsibly to complete any renovation tasks that were already underway and to make decisions as to what work is appropriate to enable preparations for a busy summer season to take place depending upon the requirements of each facility.

Further information is detailed below.


The Irish Ladies Golf Union and Golfing Union of Ireland have provided information for greenkeepers working in counties assessed at Level 3 in the Irish Government’s ‘Living with COVID’ plan.

All counties in Ireland are at Level 3 until Tuesday 27 October, but by adhering to these regulations, greenkeepers can play a massive role in ensuring golf remains a safe sport for everyone working and playing in it.

You can read the entire guidance here, but below is some of the information relating specifically to greenkeepers:

  • Members, their guests, visitors and staff with colds or any symptoms of COVID-19 must stay away from the golf course and clubhouse
  • Physically distancing rules are observed by all members and their guests at all times in the car park, clubhouse and on the course
  • Those aged 70 years and over and the medically vulnerable should exercise judgement regarding the extent to which they engage with others and in activities outside home. Specific Government guidance will be provided
  • All cafes and restaurants, including bars, should only offer takeaway or delivery or outdoor dining and service (not that different restrictions apply in Dublin)
  • There should be no social gatherings of any size at the facility
  • Players are instructed not to touch the flag or flagstick
  • Rakes are removed from the course. Players are requested to smooth bunkers using their feet or a club. 

A number of counties have been placed in Level 4, which carries more extensive restrictions. In addition to the requirements above, greenkeepers should also be aware of:

  • There are no social gatherings or other organised gatherings, such as meetings of any size, at the facility.
  • Clubhouse access should be confined to use of toilet facilities (provided they can be kept clean) and initial retrieval of golf equipment from lockers. If toilet facilities are open, clubs should adopt a one-in, one-out approach. Pro shop access may need to be curtailed. It can be used for check-in purposes, click and collect services and other services.

The Irish Government has provided additional protocols about returning to work


Staff Photos 2020-14.JPG
Karl Hansell
BIGGA | Head of Marketing and Communications

Karl has been head of communications for BIGGA since March 2016. His duties include editing the monthly Greenkeeper International magazine, in addition to other communications activities for the association.


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