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Distance insights project

Scottish Golf issues golf after lockdown guidance to clubs

The governing body has published an eight-page guide to clubs and golfers on how the sport should return once coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased
 

Scottish golf clubs should keep tee timesheets for at six weeks to assist with any necessary contact tracing under new guidelines issued ahead of the sport’s return.

Members who are in the highest risk groups from coronavirus have also been told to stay away, while competitions have not been recommended as clubs get ready to reopen once lockdown restrictions are finally eased.

The measures are part of an eight-page guidance document issued by Scottish Golf to member clubs – covering everything from buggies to caddies and what to do around teeing areas.

The governing body has worked with a number of industry bodies, including Scottish Government, Active Scotland and Sport Scotland to produce what it says is a “clear guide for all golf clubs and golfers in Scotland”.

The document came as clubs were told they could open from the end of next week if First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gives the all clear.

“We understand that a break from the game we miss will have had a significant impact on both the physical and mental health of thousands of golfers in Scotland,” the guidance begins.

“These safe golf procedures focus on how golf clubs can re-introduce golf as part of the Government’s Phase 1 relaxed restrictions in the first instance and have been prepared in consultation with Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland.

“The golf community has been extended the opportunity to be an early sporting recipient that benefits from the relaxed restrictions.

“We urge everyone to be respectful of the preliminary guidelines and to apply good individual judgement, to ensure that in time we can move to a fully phased reintroduction of the game as we all know and love it.

“It should be noted that the Scottish Government continues to monitor the situation closely and has not ruled out the reintroduction of restrictions, which could see golf suspended once again if public health measures dictate, or if the guidelines are not followed.

“It is therefore imperative that golf clubs take the necessary steps outlined in this document prior to opening their courses for play and adhere to the guidelines, which could be subject to update or change at any time.”

On general issues, the guidance states that:

  • Physical distancing rules outlined by the Scottish Government should always be adhered to.
  • Members who are in the highest risk (shielding) group outlined by the Government should stay away from the golf club.
  • Members with colds or any symptoms of COVID-19 should not be allowed on the premises of the golf club.

Tee-time intervals will be at the discretion of clubs with individuals allowed to play on their own, while two ball games, with household members or with a non-household member adhering to social distancing, will also be permitted.

“At the discretion of the golf club and subject to adherence of only mixing with one other household group play in groups of three or four-balls is permitted.”

Two-tee start times can also be considered by clubs if the golf course is set up accordingly.

“Competition play is not recommended in phase 1 of re-introduction,” the guidance continues. “If clubs choose to run any competition, they should be for members only, and should follow the R&A guidelines.

“Tee timesheets should be kept for a period of at least 6 weeks to assist with contact tracing should the need arise.”

The guidance also confirms that “travel to the golf course from your home must be in line with Scottish Government guidelines – in phase 1 local travel is noted as broadly 5 miles from home.”

For the full guidance, click here.

What do you think of Scottish Golf’s guidance? 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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