Clubs told to be ready for courses re-opening

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ENGLAND Golf is urging clubs to be ready to reopen swiftly when the coronavirus lockdown is lifted – with the game having the potential to play a “prominent role” in the country’s sporting recovery.

The amateur game’s governing body believes clubs that have been forced to shut since March 23 can make preparations now for the day when courses can be open for play again – ahead of any formal announcement.

It has launched a special package of advice to help officials be quick off the mark once a government decision about the easing of Covid-19 restrictions is made public.

And they are hoping the country’s thousands of golfers will follow their new slogan of Play Safe, Stay Safe when they do get back out.

England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson wrote to clubs to update them on their ongoing efforts to help the Government find the right starting date for golf to resume.

“When golf does return, this great game of ours must be ready to do so in an organised and responsible manner,” he pointed out.

“The enthusiasm for golf’s return after an enforced hiatus is to be embraced.

“However, it is important that everyone who loves the game is guided by the simple message – Play Safe, Stay Safe.”

England Golf, which was forced to furlough the majority of its staff, said the new guides would be available to clubs shortly.

“While we cannot yet circle a date in the diary, it is right to put in place a proper framework to allow golfers to tee it up at the appropriate time and with the necessary infrastructure already in place,” added Mr Tomlinson.

The guides will cover areas including: Golfer communications; Staff and volunteers; Ongoing business support; Facility and course management; Playing the game

Mr Tomlinson added: “It is realistic for golf clubs to expect restrictions on opening of facilities, requirements for social distancing and adaptations to the usual playing etiquette even after any easing of lockdown.

“Restarting the game on this basis will be a challenge. There is a key responsibility to balance the issue of public health while at the same time ensuring the vitality of our sport.

“Golf will play a prominent role in the nation’s sporting recovery – when the time is right.

“By working together, we can make sure this happens with our affiliated clubs and counties at the heart of the matter.”

It has been a real baptism of fire for England Golf’s new head man, who only took up the post in January.

As he said in his letter: “Golf in England has never before faced so many difficult challenges and in such a short space of time. The unprecedented, but necessary, decision to close golf courses has had a profound effect on our game.

“It remains the correct and responsible decision during a global pandemic and at a time of national emergency.”

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