This story has since updated after the government clarified its stance. View updated release HERE
In what could prove a major blow to golf courses around Ireland, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland has recommended that Irish Greenkeepers do not attend work, in compliance with HSE and government policy.
A statement from the GCSAI issued on Monday read:
“Since the public health measures to prevent the spread of covid-19 were introduced and subsequent guidelines were published by the department of health on the 28th March. The GCSAI have been working tirelessly with the Irish golfing bodies to seek clarification on whether golf course maintenance would be permissible during this period.
Despite our best efforts, to date we have not received clarification.
As a result, the GCSAI recommend that all Irish greenkeepers follow strictly and comply with HSE and government policy on the issue. GCSAI recommend that as of 6pm this evening the 30th March 2020 that Irish Greenkeepers do not attend work, in compliance with HSE and government policy.
If there are any updates on the situation, rest assured we will make the information available as soon as possible.
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland are committed to ensure the safety of Irish greenkeepers, the safety of our members remains our highest priority.
Through working together, heeding the advice of experts and sharing best practice we can help contain the spread of Covid-19.
Stay Safe- Stay Home.”
Although this is only a recommendation, the potential impact this could have on closed courses is huge. It was just last week that golf’s governing bodies in Ireland recommended that all golf clubs, practice facilities and courses across the island close with immediate effect until April 19th 2020.
Solace could be taken from the fact that courses would be maintained in the interim with staff expected to stay on and keep the grass cut as temperatures and growth steadily increases.
However the latest update from the GCSAI could have grave consequences for clubs that were already suffering amid this pandemic and depending on how long this situation continues, those who were already fearful that their gates may never reopen given the financial hit the industry has taken in recent weeks will be even more worried now.