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England Golf: We won’t quit in fight to keep golf courses open

The governing body says it will once again turn to science in a bid to persuade the Government to allow golf to stay open
 

England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson said the governing body would try to change the Government’s mind on closing golf courses during lockdown.

Speaking as clubs shut their doors for the third time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, he said the aim was to try and help Whitehall “come to a better decision”.

Tomlinson told Sky Sports News: “I don’t know whether we are going to create a U-turn but we are going to certainly try to persuade. I am not going to give up. I have passion and have energy, as does my team, as does Craig Tracey heading up the Parliamentary Group for Golf.

“We do believe. We’ve presented the science before. We’re going to do that again. We’re going to try to find a way that we can most constructively help Government to come to a better decision, we hope, with regards to opening up golf courses.”

The decision to shut down the sport once more, announced as prime minister Boris Johnson ordered the nation to “stay at home” in the face of a surge of Covid-19 cases and a new variant, will have caught the game’s leading bodies by surprise.

England Golf

Tracey, chairman of the All-Parliamentary Group for Golf, had expressed confidence golf could meet future restrictions when clubs reopened following a near four-week closure at the start of December.

Now, with Government ministers suggesting the current lockdown could continue until at least March, Tomlinson said England Golf was merely asking for people to be able to exercise as they wished.

He added: “We are not asking for clubs to be open. We are just asking for people to be able to exercise in their preferred choice. You don’t touch other people’s equipment. You do naturally socially distance. It is just another way of having a walk, really.

“So we’re going to keep at it. We are going to try to find a way to help them understand.”

Should golf’s industry bodies fight for the reopening of golf courses or should lockdown take its course? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

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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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