Last updated: Wednesday 6 January (closure of courses and facilities from 4 January on government instruction)
England Golf has fielded a large number of calls, emails and messages via social media about the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on golf.
Our staff are working hard to reply to each individual and club query and we thank you all for turning to us for advice and support in these unprecedented times. We appreciate your patience while we deal with your questions.
Given the volume of enquiries, we felt it would be useful to compile a series of FAQs complete with answers, guidance and signposting to other relevant authorities.
PLAYING THE GAME
Q – Can golf be played in England from 4 January?
A – Unfortunately, no. The UK Government has declared that all of England is now in alert level 5 – a national lockdown. Golf courses and facilities have been instructed by government to close with immediate effect.
Q – What has England Golf done to try and prevent golf courses and facilities being closed during a national lockdown?
A – As has been the case throughout this pandemic, England Golf has championed golf’s cause and argued strongly that the game should be part of the solution and not seen as part of the problem.
Through our own conversations with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and to the Sports Minister via the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, the evidence to support golf as a naturally socially distanced sport, played in the open-air and with Covid-secure rules in place has been presented to government.
The facts and figures to support the mental and physical benefits that golf offers participants during a period of lockdown and isolation have been laid out in some detail.
Golf is no different to walking, running and cycling and in fact can be regulated in a far more secure way than many activities currently allowed to take part in our parks and open recreation spaces where there are no ways to control numbers of participants.
The UK Government’s position at this time remains unchanged from that stated on 4 January. We continue to work hard behind the scenes to promote golf’s return in a safe and responsible manner at the earliest opportunity.
Q – Why can golf be played in Scotland at this time and not in England?
A – In England, the regulations and laws are set down by the UK Government in Westminster. Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on Monday 4 January, the clear instruction was that golf courses and facilities must close with immediate effect as part of the ongoing fight to halt the rapid rise in transmission rates of Covid-19 in England.
In Scotland, as is the case in Wales and Northern Ireland, the regulations and laws are set down by the devolved parliament/assemblies.
The First Minister of Scotland has chosen to adopt a different approach to the UK Government based on the Covid-19 circumstances in Scotland.
Golf courses in Wales and Northern Ireland – as in England – have been instructed to close by their devolved governments.
Q – Is insurance cover provided by England Golf to members of affiliated golf clubs valid?
A – When golf courses are legally open for play then current insurance cover remains valid.
PRACTICE FACILITIES/EQUIPMENT HIRE:
Q – Can outdoor practice areas, nets and putting greens remain open from 4 January?
A – No – all facilities at golf courses must be closed as per the government instruction.
Q – Can driving ranges reopen?
A – No – once again driving ranges have been told to close by government.
Q – Can PGA professionals and clubs provide tuition/coaching for members, both adults and children?
A – Coaching at golf facilities and on courses is prohibited during the national lockdown. Elements of online tuition may continue between a coach and player in private settings.
PROFESSIONAL SHOPS AND SERVICES:
Q – Can pro shops open?
A – Pro shops – as non-essential retail – must close. They may, however, offer an online click-and-collect service for customers provided good are collected off the premises or delivered.
Q – Can clubhouses open?
A – All golf clubhouses must remain closed during this period of national lockdown.
Q – What guidance is available for the staging of club committee meetings and AGMs?
A – Any such meetings if they need to take place should be done online. Club Support Officers and Partnership Managers are able to support clubs wishing to organise virtual meetings.
Q – What is the advice for greenkeepers during this period now that golf has returned?
A – Work may continue and must be carried out in accordance with rules on social distancing and greens staff should consult with employers on work options. Greenkeepers can find out the latest details as provided by BIGGA through their own website.
BUSINESS SUPPORT FOR CLUBS:
- Business rate relief/government support
- Government furlough scheme
- Sport England Community Emergency Fund
- Government scheme for self-employed or freelance staff
- Government instruction for alert level 5 (national lockdown)
For more information about England Golf’s ‘Play Safe Stay Safe’ guidelines, visit the Play Safe page
To find all the updates and information on COVID-19 and golf read our dedicated Coronavirus information page.