Golf courses in Wales to close; are we next?

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Image designed by Ed Moynihan

In response to the Welsh Government adopting a ‘firebreak’ approach to their handling of Covid-19, it has been confirmed that every golf course in Wales will be ordered to close from Friday for a period of two-and-a-half weeks.

The worry now for golfers across Ireland, having heard that the country will move to level 5 restrictions from Wednesday night, is… are we next?

The Golfing Union of Ireland has said that a joint statement from the GUI and ILGU will be issued once the game’s governing bodies confirm what is permitted under Level 5.

In Wales, in their bid to bring Covid-19 under control, not only will golf courses be closed for a period of 17 days until November 9 but tennis courts, leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools will also shut their doors.

A statement on the Welsh Government website reads: “Sportspeople who work and earn a living through sport are allowed to continue working, and like everyone else they can leave home to do so if they cannot work from home.

“However, the elite programme, overseen by Sport Wales, will be suspended during this circuit breaker period.

“Fixtures involving professional sportspeople are allowed to continue behind closed doors. All participants, such as players, officials, coaches, and broadcasters are there in a working capacity.”

Under Ireland’s Level 5 restrictions, a 5 kilometre limit on non-essential journeys would immediately question the merits of many clubs opening at all depending on their geographic location.

In an ideal world an exception would be made for golfers who are members of their clubs to travel beyond the 5 kilometres, remaining in their car and meeting nobody for the entire journey, but the likelihood of the game’s governing bodies being able to negotiate a deal like this for the sport given the wider economic impacts of Monday’s announcement is optimistic at best.

Many will argue that golf, for them, is essential; that it’s the only escape they have from the hysteria surrounding Covid-19 and that the thoughts of six weeks without the game is too hard to stomach.

You only have to look at how difficult it’s been to get a tee-time this year, particularly on weekends, to know how many people have been benefitting from the health benefits of golf. The appetite for the game somewhat negated the money lost during the last lockdown and memberships have been on the rise around the country since.

What impact will another six-week barren spell have on our 400 plus golf courses around the country? For some, it might be the final nail in the coffin. The game’s governing bodies in Ireland, the GUI and ILGU, will know that. They’ll fight for the sport we all love and hope it can continue as a ray of hope amidst the doom.

However, they’ll be equally aware that an us against them mentality is no good for anyone either and the longer term ramifications such a position would have on the game’s reputation could prove to be more irreparable than a six-week closure ever could.

Whatever happens, we’re all in this together.

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21 responses to “Golf courses in Wales to close; are we next?”

  1. Sean McCarthy avatar
    Sean McCarthy

    Staying within 20 km and members only in pods of 4 with no other random mixing might do the trick. Stick to your own club and no open competitions.

  2. Robert Cleary avatar
    Robert Cleary

    How can they allow Gaa, soccer rugby etc etc and even think of closing golf courses!

  3. Anthony avatar
    Anthony

    If not for one’s own sanity, mental health & physical fitness for many its there only vice of holding onto what little they have left amid restrictions. Most club-members are within 20-25K radius but very few are lucky enough to be just within 5 K. all members should be entitled to travel to there club within reason as one’s mental health has to be paramount in these depressing restrictive times.
    Sincerely Anthony.

  4. Dick Walsh avatar
    Dick Walsh

    Your final paragraph (However ……..) is very well said and highly pertinent. Loss of good will towards the game must be avoided at all costs.

  5. Pat O Leary avatar
    Pat O Leary

    Golf is one of the safest outdoor sports you can playOut in the fresh air has to do you goodHope they realize that.

  6. Colm avatar
    Colm

    I reakon club restaurants have suffered as a result of COVID,however, I’ve witnessed diligent adherence to the rules in relation to social distance. I would agree that by staying within your group bubble would prove a sensible approach & keep us all safe.

  7. william B avatar
    william B

    solidarity Lads

  8. Martin avatar
    Martin

    any update on courses staying open to members?

    1. william B avatar
      william B

      yes Casual Golf 5km radius of club

      1. Liam avatar
        Liam

        Where did you hear that?

      2. kate mcnamara avatar

        didn’t hear that !! hope it’s true?

  9. Marie Hogan avatar
    Marie Hogan

    What about those of us living in a different county and 20 Km from our club? We already have had no golf for last 2 weeks. ! Now 6 more (@least) weeks.
    Marie

  10. Con avatar
    Con

    A Golfer is safer on a Golf Course from Covid than he/she would be walking within a 5km zone,or shopping,especially if their playing on their own or with not more than 3 people with 6 to 10 metre social distancing.

  11. william king avatar
    william king

    After Golf Gate I don’t think Golf will have any friends in the Dail so let’s hope it’s only 6 weeks

  12. Pauline Cooke avatar
    Pauline Cooke

    If they insist on closing golf courses then what about cycling as a sport. I witnessed then during the March lockdown cycling 2 and 3 abreast and not adhering to 2 metre distancing. It is much easier to keep your distance on a golf course

  13. Seamus Spencer avatar
    Seamus Spencer

    Pods of4? Not a chance if we could get casual golf for those lucky enough to live within the 5 km limit that would be brilliant, family group or single golfers only is the best we could hope for

  14. Jarlath donnellan avatar
    Jarlath donnellan

    I’m afraid golf clubhouses let themselves down over last few months. Very little social distancing,drink being served for hours on end and sometimes with no food served. No doors or windows open for ventilation as members saying it too cold. Also groups of members assembled in car park?
    Madness

  15. Colm avatar
    Colm

    If your a GUI member then if your within 5 km of a golf course but not necessarily your golf club then an exception should be made and you should be allowed play in any competitions and at members prices! Remember every club will have members living beyond 5 km, so GUI should allow my proposal!

  16. Lia avatar
    Lia

    Golf is safer than Gaelic football and hurling which are contact sports. Also they have day jobs and are not being paid to play.
    I presume the golfgate crowd wont play for 6 weeks..I doubt it.

  17. Niall avatar
    Niall

    Golf should be exempted as no science has been produced to show it is an unacceptable Covid risk.
    ILGU and GUI members carrying their membership cards ( just like their driving licences) should be allowed travel to their club beyond the 5 km limit . Their cards can be produced to Gardai if required . After all , what additional risk does a driver in their car pose to others ?

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