Ten-minute tee time intervals have been advised by England Golf when golf courses reopen on March 29.
In their latest ‘Play Safe, Stay Safe’ guidance, providing the framework for the return of the sport, the governing body say clubs may use shorter intervals “providing they can demonstrate that this is safe and ensures appropriate social distancing”.
The seven-page document also reiterates that pro shops must remain closed, “unless acting as a reception point”.
“If that is the case, safety measures such as plastic screens, removing any touchpoints and contactless payment must be considered.”
The governing body worked with industry partners across the sport to draw together the plan, which has been regularly revised since the country began to exit the first coronavirus lockdown last May.
It has now been updated to reflect the first stage of the Government’s Covid-19 roadmap, which takes effect with the return of schools on March 8. Golf returns three weeks later.
The document follows the detailed step-by-step Covid-19: A roadmap for the return of golf in England, which was put together by a range of industry bodies, including England Golf, and which confirmed the return of fourballs.
Much of the ‘Play Safe, Stay Safe’ guidance will already be familiar to golfers, such as advice on the Rules of Golf and conduct on course.
But with competitions allowed from the onset of clubs reopening, the framework says that, where open events take place, “organising committees must in put in place a registration process to capture full contact details of all players in case of the need to track and trace”.
It also recommends shotgun starts are not used “at this time because of the increased likelihood of creating congregations before and after the round”.
On arriving and waiting to play, golfers are told they should still come changed for play and to change their shoes in the car park. Players should also “refrain from showering or changing in locker rooms”.
While takeaway food can be served to those waiting to tee off, all “outdoor tables, chairs and benches should be moved to avoid congregation”.
England Golf have reminded clubs and facilities they should adhere to the guidelines provided.
“These have been published to assist clubs and facilities in providing as safe an environment as they can,” the document states.
“Failure to follow this guidance may leave clubs and facilities open to enforcement action from local authorities and/or police, or subject to disciplinary procedures from England Golf.”
To read the full framework, which also covers bookings, lessons and more regulations on course, visit the England Golf website.
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