The organiser of a petition saying golf courses should be opened up for everyone to exercise during the lockdown is not happy that clubs aren't on the same page

“We can’t let them win.” That’s what the organiser of a petition said after golf clubs and golfers opposed plans to open up courses to public exercise during coronavirus.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole wrote that making courses available to everyone could give a million more people living in urban areas access to local green space.

His petition on Change.org, which has now been signed by more than 4,000 people, hit the headlines after it was backed by former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas.

Urging her followers to sign, she said it was “surely common sense” to create as much open space as possible to allow socially distanced exercise.

It follows widespread criticisms of people packing into parks during the spell of spring good weather – flouting Government ‘lockdown’ rules designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Labour MPs Harriet Harman and Helen Hayes have also added their support to the idea of opening up green space. But golf clubs and golfers loudly voiced their opposition on social media and in the traditional press.

Steve Bootes, general manager at Sittingbourne & Milton Regis, told Kent Online: “We would not entertain having any Tom, Dick or Harry running around our golf course, that’s for sure”.

Referencing Bootes’ outcry, Shrubsole, posting his first update since the petition was launched, wrote: “We can’t let them win. Can you help share the petition and get even more signatures?”

Thanking those who had supported him so far, he added: “Here’s a fresh fact if it helps you convince friends unsure about signing the petition.

“Mapping consultancy GeoFutures have crunched the numbers – and it turns out opening up golf courses would give 1 MILLION more people living in urban areas to local green space within an easy walking distance! It makes sense – let’s make it happen!”

What do you think of the petition? How should golf clubs be using their space during the coronavirus outbreak? Let us know in the comments or tweet us.

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