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golf foursomes coronavirus

Is this what golf in the UK looks like after the pandemic?

Don’t turn up without booking, don’t exchange cards, and check out this hand sanitiser recipe – this Jersey club's nine-page guide to golf during the coronavirus crisis
 

The nine-page document leaves you in exactly no doubt as to what’s expected if you play a round at Les Mielles. Click onto the Jersey club’s website and you’re directed towards their coronavirus advice leaflet – the rules you need to live by as golf continues on the island in the face of the pandemic.

Comprehensive doesn’t truly describe it. From suggestions on how to make hand sanitiser to point-by-point instructions on booking and how to safely get round the course, there’s also a Q&A that covers how you handle your playing partners and even your phone.

Les Mielles are one of three clubs on the Channel Islands territory open for play as the world continues to battle this microscopic enemy.

While golf courses are shut in the rest of the British Isles, as governing bodies stipulate that clubs close their doors and the UK government issue lockdown restrictions to stem the tide of coronavirus, NCG revealed the Government of Jersey had taken a different path.

“As large open spaces, golf courses can stay open as long as social distancing is fully observed and monitored, ensuring there is no congregation whatsoever on the course or in other outdoor spaces such as car parks,” they said.

That has seen Les Mielles, along with La Moye and Wheatlands remain open – but not without stringent controls regarding what you can do, and where you can go, at the club.

Only golf remains open at Les Mielles, with their restaurant, activity centre, pro shop, driving range, putting green and fishing all closed until further notice.

Among the measures outlined in the document include:

Sanitiser: “Buy some sanitiser! And use it, that extra space in your golf bag next to your tees or balls? Put your hand sanitiser there, and use it before and after your round of golf”.

Terms and conditions: “All tee times are in 2 balls, every 9 minutes and can be booked by members or guests. A maximum of 28 golfers are permitted to play every hour. Tee times are available 7.30am – 6.30pm daily”.

Booking golf: “All tee times must be pre-booked and guests pre-paid. Golfers must not come down to the golf course without having pre-booked a slot either by phone or online to avoid unnecessary congregation”.

Course ranger: “The Course Ranger has full authority and has a responsibility to ensure that play on the course is carried out within the acceptable COVID-19 Guidelines from Gov.je and making sure people do not congregate in the car park or whilst leaving the Clubhouse area. They are also permitted to ask you to leave the premises or ban you until further notice if rules aren’t respected”.

On the course, Les Mielles’ advice instructs that players “must not exchange cards but rather verbally communicate the hole-by-hole scores at a 2 metre/6 feet distance”.

They add “the course has introduced a code of conduct requesting that golfers do not remove (or even touch) the flagstick”, adding a player could face penalties if they are in breach.

And “to help ensure golfers adhere to the 2-hour lockdown restrictions”, only 9-holes, played once per day and teeing off from the 1st or 10th tee, is permitted.

With golf in the UK likely to return with social distancing rules still in place whenever it is deemed safe to play, it will be interesting to see if clubs will adopt similar guidelines to minimise the risk of infection – or whether the governing bodies will insist on such measures. You can read the full Les Mielles advice here.

What do you think of Les Mielles’ coronavirus advice to players? 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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