fbpx
golf courses reopen

MP’s plea to Boris: Tell us when we can open golf courses

Boris Johnson was asked in the House of Commons to give a 'clear route map' that 'sets out the potential' for when golf courses in England could reopen
 

Boris Johnson has been asked to give a road map for when golf courses in England could reopen.

During a Covid-19 Update debate in the House of Commons, Craig Tracey, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, asked the prime minister to set out in the coming days a clear route that “sets out the potential for further easing of restrictions, such as when outdoor exercises such as golf courses can resume”.

Johnson said he would be “supplying, I hope, exactly that” and added that over the course of the next few weeks the aspiration was that “we will be able to populate the diary ahead with some more milestones”.

Tracey, who represents the North Warwickshire constituency, was speaking after MPs were told Johnson hoped schools in England could reopen from March 8 – depending on the success of vaccines and the suppression of infections.

Golf courses have been shut since the third national lockdown was announced on January 4 and, with the traditional renewal season around the corner in April, it’s a critical time for clubs as they hope members sign up for another year despite months of disruption.

Tracey asked Johnson: “The rollout of the vaccine has been an undoubted success for the Government, but it brings us to a point where people now want to understand the path ahead to give them something to aim towards.

“I welcome the clarity the prime minister has given today on schools but in the coming days can he also give a clear route map which sets out the potential for further easing of restrictions such as when outdoor exercise facilities such as golf courses can resume, hospitality events can restart, and our high streets can reopen to reassure people that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that we will shortly realise some of the benefits for the incredible sacrifices they have had to make over recent months.”

Johnson replied: “My honourable friend is entirely right in what he asks for and I will be supplying, I hope, exactly that.

“He will recall last year how we set out a series of dates by which the earliest we hoped to do certain things.

“He will recall July 4th, I think, for opening hospitality. I hope that in the course of the next few weeks, we will be able to populate the diary ahead with some more milestones, some more assumptions, about what we may be able to give reassurance to him, to businesses in his constituency, to all of us.”

Later, in an adjournment debate on golf tourism, North Antrim MP Ian Paisley Jnr asked Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, why people could be in close contact with others in supermarkets but not play golf.

“People do not yet appreciate why they can walk around supermarkets, and be in close contact with many people, yet they can’t walk out in the fresh air and golf in a socially distanced way and in a safe way, and keep their local course open,” he said.

“Can you help explain that and help us get out of this pandemic?”

Huddleston explained: “Nobody wanted to close down golf courses. It’s absolutely vital that we do let people get out and exercise.

“The problem was we would have confusing messages. If it was stay at home – and that is the fundamental clear message: stay at home unless you have to leave for certain reasons, or for a limited number of low impact exercises.

“There would have been confusing messages, had we done anything else and also, of course, the goal is to try and get golf and other sports open as soon as possible and that is absolutely the shared aim.”

Huddleston, replying to North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain, who had secured the debate, added that he understood “the frustrations of those who are desperate to get back on the course”.

“We want to get them back on the courses as soon as possible, start lifting restrictions, and grassroots sport will be among the first to return.”

Subscribe to NCG

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.

Latest Posts

Club

Long-time volunteer Michael Rees presented with England Golf award

By

Read full article about Long-time volunteer Michael Rees presented with England Golf award
England Golf Awards

News

Heroes of the club game celebrated at historic England Golf Awards

By

Read full article about Heroes of the club game celebrated at historic England Golf Awards
How much do member subs contribute to the golf club budget?

Features

How much do member subs contribute to the golf club budget?

By

Read full article about How much do member subs contribute to the golf club budget?
Why your clubs have joining fees - and could they be improved?

Features

Why your clubs have joining fees – and could they be improved?

By

Read full article about Why your clubs have joining fees – and could they be improved?
committee for golf club salaries

Want high standards on your golf course? Pay for them!

By

Read full article about Want high standards on your golf course? Pay for them!
visitor golf green fees

News

How much did your club pull in from visitor green fees?

By

Read full article about How much did your club pull in from visitor green fees?
shorter golf ball

Club

A shorter golf ball? It’s clubs who will need to make it work

By

Read full article about A shorter golf ball? It’s clubs who will need to make it work
golf slow play

Club

Here are five (really) easy ways to speed up your weekend game

By

Read full article about Here are five (really) easy ways to speed up your weekend game
carus geen golf club

Club

This 93-year-old must have set a club golf record!

By

Read full article about This 93-year-old must have set a club golf record!