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We’ve done our part – now let us stay open! Golf leaders unite in lockdown plea to prime minister

The golf industry has come together to ask the Boris Johnson to think again on closing courses during lockdown
 

Golf has united to ask prime minister Boris Johnson to allow golf to continue during lockdown in England.

Leading figures including R&A executive director David Rickman, England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson, PGA chief executive Robert Maxfield, GCMA CEO Tom Brooke and BIGGA chief Jim Croxton, have jointly signed a plea from the office of Craig Tracey, chair of the All-Parliamentary Group for Golf, to again ask that the sport be exempt from the proposed restrictions.

Johnson appeared to slam the door on any hopes when outlining the plans for the month-long shutdown in Parliament earlier on Monday.

But in their letter, golf’s leaders highlighted the steps that had been taken to enjoy golf in a Covid-safe way and the positive health benefits the game offers.

They wrote: “Whilst we agree that certain measures will have to be adapted, such as closing clubhouses, these should not be seen as prohibitive to allowing play to continue.

“Golf clubs in England have already embraced a raft of changes with the vast majority offering online booking services, having pre-scheduled arrival times to eradicate contact with other people, and rule changes which ensure players stay socially distanced.

“In reality, a round of golf affords greater Covid security than comparable activities of walking, running and cycling in an urban area.

“In view of the undeniable health and mental wellbeing benefits that golf offers to a significant portion of the country, we would ask that you consider exempting it from the proposed restrictions, should they come into force on Wednesday.”

Read the full letter…

In the end it proved futile as England Golf CEO conceded defeat on Wednesday and told clubs they must close.

What do you think of the Government’s decision? Is it the right move, or should golf courses stay open during lockdown? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us.

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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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