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Add fishing to exercises allowed in lockdown - remind me why my golf course is closed?

Add fishing to exercises allowed in lockdown – remind me why my golf course is closed?

The Angry Club Golfer had accepted golf's closure during lockdown, until he stumbled across the latest news from the angling world
 

You learn something new every day. Now wedged in with all the other useless bits of information in my brain – like the precise start and finish dates of the Seven Years’ War – is the knowledge that the Government apparently now considers fishing to be exercise.

Who knew? I always thought you just spent six hours sat on your backside, occasionally throwing a line into the water, while knocking back several cans of Stella.

Maybe I’ve just been doing it wrong.

Even so, the sudden realisation that angling gets the blood pumping in a way that golf clearly doesn’t, at least in the eyes of Boris and his pals, is going to take some shifting out of my bonce.

I thought we were the Musketeers. One for all, and all for one and all that. We’re in this English lockdown together. Isn’t that what we’re told?

We’ve had to be a hardy bunch this week. Popping your head above the parapet, and arguing the merits of signing a petition asking the powers that be to look again at golf during the third lockdown, was an invitation for virtue signallers to pile in and scold you for being heartless.

God I hate social media.

But the major point I’ll concede they had was that golf couldn’t be an exception – that allowing people to walk round a field with a club in hand (let’s leave aside the fact that you can walk basically anywhere else) just wasn’t, well, cricket when every other amateur sport was also taking a back seat in the interests of public health.

Now it’s all breaking down like Gavin Williamson in front of an audience of schoolteachers.

One of the biggest whines I saw from people berating golf for being selfish in this national emergency was the issue of travel.

You can’t play golf because you’d need to drive to the course and, obviously, we’re all being told to exercise close to home.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this little nugget on the Angling Trust’s website, purporting to have come from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs: “Cabinet Office have now officially confirmed that angling/fishing (including sea fishing off private boats, water sports) can be considered exercise and are hence permitted.”

Are you really telling me I can’t drive to the club but I can put to sea?

Look, I don’t mean to crowd all over angling, although personally I couldn’t give a flying fish about it, but let’s at least try to keep the shield wall intact.

If fishing is exercise then I don’t understand how you can class golf any differently. My last round cleared more than 1,000 calories – or so the Fitbit I got for Christmas told me.

It can’t be one rule for them and one for another. Now every individual pastime of which you’ve ever heard has got a legitimate grievance.

So it remains to be seen whether England Golf can sway Whitehall. Else we could all just go and buy a rod.

Is the Angry Club Golfer right or does he need throwing back into the sea? Let him know in the comments, or tweet him.

Want more Angry Club Golfer rants? You can find them here

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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