Stone the flamin’ crows! Golf is back in Australia

John Craven

Adam Scott celebrates his win on the 10th hole during a playoff with Angel Cabrera at the Masters (Photo credit JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)

John Craven

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The nation famous for its boomerangs has performed the mother of all u-turns after Australia’s governing body for golf, Golf Australia updated its position on COVID-19.

Much like this fair isle, the land Down Under advised all golf facilities to close in late March to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Three weeks later, the Aussies have changed their stance, giving the nation’s golfers the green light to hit the fairways hard again with immediate effect.

“Golf Australia’s focus during the COVID-19 pandemic will always be the wellbeing of the broader community,” read a new statement.

“Combined with our enduring responsibility for our clubs, their staff and all Australian golfers, we remain comfortable that our position recommending that clubs close has been appropriate to this point.

“But, acknowledging the long challenge that lies ahead of all Australians during this pandemic, we have been encouraged to see golf played in comparative safety in five states and one territory in recent weeks as we all adopt social distancing necessities.

“Under strict and specific safety protocols – enforced by state and territory guidelines as well as individual club rules – Golf Australia is now satisfied that golf can be played at minimal risk. Having worked collaboratively with our clubs and other stakeholders, we are now comfortable to alter our position and encourage courses to open and for people to play.

“As well as social distancing, these safety protocols include keeping gloves on and not touching hands with playing partners, not sharing carts, leaving flags in, reducing hole depth, greater times between groups, not exchanging cards, not using bunker rakes and maintaining personal hygiene.

“The ability to play currently does not apply to those in Victoria and the Northern Territory where golf remains prohibited under local laws. As ever, Golf Australia will continue constructive dialogue and advocacy for golfers with these governments.

“It is important to note that Golf Australia may again alter our position depending on the changing requirements of governments (Federal, state and territory) as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds.”

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