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Covid restrictions on flagsticks and rakes to end

England Golf have told clubs they can relax the rules on removing the pin and using bunker rakes as Government guidelines change
 

Removing flagsticks and using rakes is back.

England Golf have told clubs their Covid-19 guidance will be updated from July 19 and it will include the “removal of any restrictions around on course items” as well as the end of social distancing.

The governing body are amending their Play Safe, Stay Safe framework after prime minister Boris Johnson set out plans to lift the remaining coronavirus lockdown regulations in the country.

Subject to any further changes, that will mean “all golf course furniture may be returned for normal use, including the removal of flagsticks, standard hole cups, bunker rakes and ball-washers”.

England Golf recommend clubs provide hand sanitiser stations on the course, and around practice facilities, to ensure golfers can regularly clean their hands.

In a three-page document, they also advise that competition and scoring – such as the handling and submitting of scorecards – can return to how it was pre-pandemic.

“Coronavirus-related changes to the rules of golf and all handicapping provisions that enabled the game to be played competitively during the period in which restrictions have been set are to be removed.”

While the updates signal a return to golfing normality, England Golf have recommended clubs consider “keeping a form of tee booking or player registration system in place”.

Pro shops, clubhouses, hospitality areas, changing facilities and other indoor areas can run as normal, while, on course, the planned removal of rules around social distancing and congregation numbers will mean “there are no restrictions on the golf course with regards to course furniture, sharing equipment, touching golf balls or the size of groups, beyond those set by the club”.

The current restrictions still remain in place until July 19.

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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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