Golfers should soon be able to return to courses after governing body Wales Golf announced that clubs are permitted to open

If you were looking on with envious eyes as golfers in England prepared to return to the course, then fear not: golf in Wales is now also allowed to resume.

Wales Golf said on their website it was down to individual clubs to decide whether they chose to open, and when, but advised there be a “managed and co-ordinated” reintroduction from Monday (May 18) at the earliest.

They said: “Following recent Welsh Government announcements and the revision of certain Covid-19 related restrictions golf clubs are permitted to open if they so wish.

“It is entirely at each golf club’s discretion as to whether they choose to open and if so when they choose to do so.

“We would advise that clubs that do wish to reopen do not do so immediately so as to ensure they have sufficient protocols in place to adhere to these guidelines, which we will be on hand to assist with.

“This would allow for a managed and co-ordinated reintroduction of golf across Wales from next Monday 18 May at the earliest.”

The move follows the UK Government’s decision to allow golf in England to resume from tomorrow. Courses in Scotland and Northern Ireland must still remain closed for the time being.

But unlike England, where golfers will be able to travel any distance to play in the country, players in the Principality have been told to stay local.

The governing body referred players and clubs to Welsh Government rules, which state: “Under our guidelines, golf courses are not listed as a business or premise that must remain closed.

“The regulations state that exercise should be done locally, which means people cannot drive to exercise outside their local area; people also cannot exercise with anyone other than a member of their own household.

“More than two people congregating in a public place is regarded as a gathering, which is an offence under the regulations.

“We are continuing to prepare for the future, working with our partners and stakeholders. We would expect Wales Golf, working with the R&A and other UK governing bodies, to monitor the situation in England closely where golf will be permitted from May 13 and prepare detailed protocols for a potential partial resumption in Wales when the conditions are right.”

That government guidance added that “people should not travel a significant distance from their home to exercise”, even though they did not deliberately define that more precisely.

“People are asked to exercise good judgement and common sense,” it continued. “If you live in Cardiff and have driven to Porthcawl to exercise on the beach, you haven’t stayed local.”

Wales Golf urged “all member clubs and golfers to comply with the regulations in a responsible manner”.

They said: “If clubs or members are found to be in breach of these guidelines then it could lead to Welsh Government introducing measures that force golf courses to close.”

The move to reopen, and particularly the date, was also welcomed by Jim Croxton, chief executive of the British & International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association.

“The Association welcomes the decision by Wales Golf, in line with Welsh Government guidance, to allow golf clubs to reopen as this will help secure the livelihoods of the many BIGGA members that work and live in Wales,” he said.

“The decision to include an advisory note suggesting a week-long period before golf courses open is well-considered.

“I am certain this will be welcomed by greenkeeping teams and other members of golf club staff in Wales as it will provide them with a short period of time to take measures to return the course to a playable condition.”

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