The governing body has released a statement that will see golf clubs in Scotland open from next week

Scottish Golf has told member clubs they can reopen from next week – but only if First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gives the all clear.

A statement from the governing body’s chief Karin Sharp on Thursday said: “I am writing to provide detail to support you with the opening of golf courses from May 29, 2020 at the earliest, subject to final confirmation by the First Minister by way of an update currently planned for May 28.”

Earlier in the day, Sturgeon announced to the Scottish Parliament a route-map to ease the country out of lockdown that would, subject to the continued suppression of the virus, start from May 28.

A document published on the Scottish Government website – ‘Scotland’s route map through and out of this crisis’ – confirmed that in Phase 1 “we are planning to allow unrestricted outdoors exercise adhering to social distancing measures and non-contract outdoor activities in the local area – such as golf, hiking, canoeing, outdoor swimming, angling – consistent with the wider rules and guidance applicable to any activity in this phase”.

It also said people would be “permitted to travel short distances for outdoor exercise and leisure but advice to stay within a short distance of your local community (broadly within 5 miles) and travel by walk, wheel and cycle where possible”.

That was later confirmed in eight pages of guidance issued by Scottish Golf, which set out the measures clubs and golfers will need to follow on the return to the course.

It includes giving clubs the discretion to set tee-time intervals, while allowing single, two ball games – with household members or with a non-household member – as well as three and four balls “at the discretion of the golf club and subject to adherence of only mixing with one other household group”.

Sharp added: “We have heard very encouraging stories from south of the border where some clubs have seen an immediate uplift in membership, as many courses have not been open to visitors given ongoing travel restrictions applying to exercise.

“Clubs have a great opportunity to show value in being a member of a club, and all the preferential benefits this can bring.

“I am sure that the demand for tee-times will be high and I look forward to seeing and hearing of golf courses all over Scotland full of people enjoying the sport once again.

“Finally, I would like to thank all golfers who have shown great restrain over the last 8 or 9 weeks in conforming with the requests of the Scottish Government.”

Golf courses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have already been given the go ahead to reopen.

What do you make of the decision? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us.

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