Scottish Golf moved to quash “increased speculation and rumour” surrounding the timing of the re-introduction of the sport – after some clubs signalled an intention to re-open ahead of coronavirus restrictions being lifted.
A statement from the governing body insisted “nothing has been finalised regarding a date, or any details of potential phasing with Government”.
Scottish Golf’s chief operating officer, Karin Sharp, said it had been “disappointing to hear that some golf clubs in Scotland have communicated to members their intent to re-open their golf course ahead of restrictions being lifted.
“We urge all member clubs to continue to follow the Scottish Government advice, that continues to have the best interest of the public at heart.”
Rumours have abounded in various parts of the UK that golf could be one of the first sports to return if, and when, lockdown restrictions are eased.
That conjecture has led to fevered planning from some clubs and increased anticipation from golfers, even though the Edinburgh government on Friday extended lockdown in the country for a further three weeks.
To address that, Scottish Golf said: “In response to increased speculation and rumour around timing of the re-introduction of golf, Scottish Golf can confirm that nothing has been finalised regarding a date, or any details of potential phasing with Government.
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“Scottish Golf has been, and will remain in regular dialogue with Scottish Government, with regards to the planned procedures for the safe return of our sport when the time is right.
“We also continue to collaborate with our partners in golf throughout the UK and act as a collective at every opportunity.
“The recent update provided by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, confirmed that lockdown restrictions remain in place and the clear public health message is to stay home and save lives. This responsibility sits with each of us and golf is no exception.”
Sharp added: “Golf is a sport where integrity and rules sit at the very heart of the game and we ask all golfers to respect the position of Scottish Government and show patience at a time when the virus continues to have a devastating impact on society.
“I appreciate the frustrations and desire to play golf as soon as possible, but I urge you to continue following Government guidelines and save lives.”
The statement also contained comments from Joe Fitzpatrick, Scotland’s Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, who said: “I recognise the importance of golf to many across the country, and the eagerness to return to the course as soon as possible.
“However, that can only happen once it is safe to do so – and the focus at present must be the continuation of measures to slow the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.
“The Scottish Government and sportscotland are working closely with Scottish Golf to ensure the right preparation and risk assessment is undertaken to allow golf to return at the appropriate time.”
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