As the public health emergency escalates, the sport's governing bodies have been detailing their plans to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to escalate, golf’s four governing bodies in the UK and Ireland – England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf and the Golfing Union of Ireland, in conjunction with the Irish Ladies Golf Union – have set out their advice to clubs, and outlined how the virus will affect their championships in 2020, in a series of statements.

Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union statement regarding coronavirus

The Unions recognise the need for adherence to the revised guidelines as issued by the HSE on March 12 and encourage golf clubs to observe them fully.

The restrictions (from 6pm on March 14 until March 29) do not prevent club competitions or casual rounds of golf taking place, however we need to be cognisant of the social nature of our game and how this element of it is impacted.

Golf is a great sport for people generally to get out and about, exercise and enjoy fresh air. It is played in an outdoor setting where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.

All golf clubs should, at this time, aim to keep their members and staff safe and well.

As such, everyone should be keenly aware of the vulnerabilities golf clubs will face.

The older age profile of golf club memberships than of the general population must be borne in mind

  • Groups having close and prolonged contact should be avoided.
  • The social aspect of golf clubs should be curtailed, including limiting the potential for the following types of social interaction in accordance with the guidelines as issued today.
  • Siren starts with people congregating before and after are discouraged for the time being.
  • Prolonged near contact as may happen during Bridge nights, Choir practices and other clubhouse-based activities is to be avoided.
  • Visitors either require some form of screening or should be discouraged for the time being.
  • Society bookings where food and social interaction is involved afterwards should be limited in accordance with the latest guidance​.
  • Common courtesies – handshakes and other embraces associated with the etiquette of the game – should be avoided and participants may bump elbows as an alternative.
  • Social meals for groups in the clubhouse, including at inter-club matches, should be avoided.

Golf clubs should observe the need for the following:

  • Increase social distancing through greater space between seating in the clubhouse.
  • Availability of hand sanitisers.
  • Regular changing of towels.
  • Ask members not to come into the clubhouse with colds or any symptoms of Covid-19.
  • Regular cleaning of surfaces including door handles – hourly in public places.

All golf clubs should note, act upon and continually monitor the advice and guidance issued by the Health Service Executive (Republic of Ireland) and the National Health Service and Public Health (Northern Ireland) in relation to the current coronavirus outbreak.

It is important that we all work together, following the advice of experts, in controlling the spread of Covid-19 infection.

This is a very fluid situation and we ask clubs to monitor the latest advice regularly.

GUI & ILGU Championships & Inter-Club Tournaments

Golf is a great sport for people generally to get out and about, exercise and enjoy fresh air. It is played in an outdoor setting where the risk of contracting Covid-19 is low.

Despite this, the GUI and ILGU have taken some measures to reduce risk to competitors and have cancelled or postponed events that are deemed to be unnecessary gatherings during the period of restriction.

The following events are cancelled:

  • The Irish Girls’ Open Stroke Play (Roganstown, April 3-5)
  • GUI National Coaching for Under 16s (March 21-22)
  • GUI National Coaching for Under 18s (March 28-19)
  • All GUI regional, provincial and Leinster Pathway coaching sessions (up to March 29)

The following events are postponed:

GUI

  • All GUI Inter-Club Matches scheduled on or before March 29
  • Ulster Regional Series (Ballyliffin, March 22)
  • Ireland Boys vs Wales (Cardigan, March 20-21)
  • The Four Nations Developments Matches (Donabate, April 4-6)

ILGU

The ILGU have extended the deadline for preliminary matches so that they can be played outside of the period of restriction, if required, and this will be communicated to clubs shortly.

  • Scratch Cup (Woodbrook, March 15)
  • Scratch Cup (Royal Portrush, March 21)
  • All ILGU Girls’ Interprovincial Panel sessions scheduled on or before March 29

The ILGU will not be sending a squad to the French U21 Championship as originally planned.​

Joint

  • Irish Colleges Match Play (Woodbrook, March 26-27)

CGI

  • All Golf4Girls4Life Stage 5 & 6 sessions scheduled on or before March 29
  • All Open Legacy Programme Activities on or before March 29
  • All Leaders Courses and Safeguarding Workshops organised on or before March 29​

All subsequent events remain as scheduled and will be reviewed if public health information is updated.

Please await further information from GUI and ILGU in relation to the rescheduling of any postponed inter-club matches.

Meetings

All World Handicap System meetings, GUI, ILGU, and Confederation of Golf in Ireland workshops from 6pm on March 12 until March 29 are postponed. We are confident that there will be time to reschedule these once restrictions have been lifted.​

As a general precaution, GUI and ILGU committee meetings, where required, will happen by tele-conference or dial-in phone service during the period of restriction.

GUI, ILGU and CGI offices

GUI Headquarters and provincial branch offices will remain open to fulfil essential functions only and otherwise we are instructing staff members to work from home.​

Visitor access is restricted at Q House, Sandyford from March 16, therefore the ILGU Office will not be open to the public but will continue to operate remotely.

The GUI National Golf Academy will remain open as normal to the public, observing the required precautions as advised by the health authorities.

Advice to volunteers

The Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union ask that all volunteers note, act upon and continually monitor the advice and guidance issued by the Health Service Executive (Republic of Ireland) and Public Health/NHS (Northern Ireland) in relation to the current coronavirus outbreak.

It is important that we all work together, following the advice of experts, in controlling the spread of COVID-19 infection.

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