Here's the state of play wherever you are

It feels like all we’ve talked about this year is golf courses reopening. Well, now every country in Great Britain and Ireland now has a date.

We’ve set out the rules for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as they stand and what they mean for your club…

England

Updated: March 29

Golf courses in England are now permitted to open.

Scotland

Updated: March 12

Fourballs are now allowed in Scotland after a winter of only being allowed to play in twoballs, but it is “only applicable to members who live within the golf club’s local authority area”.

Scottish Golf’s statement added: “Where golfers are required to travel up to five miles across a local authority boundary, players will be required to adhere to informal exercise guidance which is subject to household limits of 4 players from 2 households. 

“Golf courses with a designated Covid Officer can permit organised golf for members who live within the local authority area. Play can take place in four-balls with no restrictions on the number of households. 

“Golf courses without a designated Covid Officer, or where members are crossing a local authority boundary to play, can remain open for play with a maximum of four players from two households. 

“For groups over the age of 12, coaching should not exceed group sizes of 15, and for groups under the age of 12, coaching should not exceed group sizes of 30.

“In the meantime, it is important to remind all golfers that they must remain close to home, travelling only for essential purposes in line with the current travel legislation.”

Wales

Updated: March 13

Golf clubs in Wales are allowed to open.

A statement on the Welsh Gornment’s website, outlining the intention to lift the ‘stay at home requirement’ in the country and replace it with ‘stay local’, said: “Four people from two households can meet outdoors to socialise, including in gardens.

“In addition, outdoor sports facilities, including basketball courts, tennis courts and golf courses, can reopen, and indoor care home visits will restart, for single designated visitors.”

Northern Ireland

Updated: March 21

Golf will be open of the first sports to resume when Northern Ireland moves to step 2 of its ‘reopening pathway’ on April 1.

A PGA statement has revealed that, from that date:

  • Golf courses in Northern Ireland can reopen for two balls and four balls with people from two households, but clubhouses must remain closed. Toilet facilities are permitted.
  • Fitting and indoor studios must remain closed, while driving ranges can open if they are outdoor
  • Coaching is not permitted and retail must remain closed. Contactless click and collect delivery is permitted.
  • Both indoor and outdoor hospitality must remain closed but takeaway is allowed.
  • Travel is permitted within 10 miles.

From April 12, and subject to ratification from the Northern Irish Executive, the country’s stay at home requirement will be replaced with a ‘stay local’ message.

For golf, the PGA say that means:

  • Coaching is permitted outside in groups of up to 15 people.
  • Fitting and indoor studios must remain closed
  • Retail must remain closed but contactless click and collect delivery is permitted.
  • Both indoor and outdoor hospitality must remain closed but takeaway is allowed.
  • Travel is permitted within 10 miles.

Republic of Ireland

Updated: March 30

Golf Ireland have confirmed the sport will be able to resume in the Republic of Ireland from April 26.

A Golf Ireland statement said: “Following intensive engagement with the Department of Sport and Sport Ireland, Golf Ireland  has drafted a Return to Golf Protocol to assist clubs in their preparation for the resumption of play. Now that the resumption of golf has been confirmed, this will be finalised in consultation with the relevant authorities, and issued to clubs as soon as possible. 

“Golf Ireland has also raised the potential impact of continuing travel restrictions on golf clubs, particularly on those located close to county boundaries and we welcome the confirmation this evening that the extension of travel restrictions next month to county-wide or 20kms. This will facilitate the vast majority of golfers to play at their clubs from April 26th.”

Golf Ireland said their priority would continue to be the safe resumption of all golfing activities at the earliest possible opportunity and would work with agencies over the coming days and weeks to progress a “comprehensive calendar of inter-club events and championships over the coming months.”

Subscribe to NCG