GUI and ILGU release fresh statement on level 5 restrictions

The pristine 12th at Waterville. By Kevin Markham

The GUI & ILGU’s joint-statement in full:

‘Over the past number of days and weeks , the GUI and ILGU have engaged in detailed and extensive discussions with the relevant Government departments and agencies in relation to Level 5 restrictions, and their impact on golf.

Since the start of the pandemic in Ireland, both governing bodies have fully endorsed the public health advice of the Irish Government and engaged extensively and successfully with government to ensure an early and safe return for golf.​

We have consistently highlighted the health and mental health benefits of golf and the strong compliance with the safety protocols which has ensured that our sport has been a safe outlet for people of all ages over the past five months . We have also highlighted the substantial employment in the sector and the benefits of golf to the Irish economy

The Government has decided however, that Level 5 restrictions mean that all sports facilities, golf included must close. The decision is one that we regret, but also accept.

Following receipt of guidance from government on Thursday evening, the guidance on Level 5 is clear, with the risk to public health meaning that individuals are asked to stay at home, with certain exceptions.

As they are not recognised as essential services, the decision of Government is that all sports facilities must close in the Level 5 restrictions. This includes both indoor and outdoor sports facilities.

It is permitted to open sports facilities for training sessions and scheduled matches for the exempted categories of sport, i.e. high performance and professional.

It will also be permitted to open outdoor sports facilities for structured training sessions by school aged children, i.e. those aged 18 years and younger, in pods of no more than 15, under the supervision of designated coaches and in compliance with approved COVID-19 protocols and all relevant public health guidance.

During these training sessions it will only be permitted for participants and relevant coaching and support personnel to be present. In the case of children’s sport, parents will be permitted to attend for child safeguarding purposes, however they will be required to comply with social distancing and other public health advice.

The restrictions applicable in Level 5 are available in full here:

While it is acknowledged that golf has demonstrated itself to be a safe sport during the pandemic, the wider public health guidance must be adhered to and we encourage all golf clubs and golfers to comply fully with the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team and Government at this time.

The Unions acknowledge the efforts of all affiliated golf clubs throughout the year and would like to thank the volunteers, staff and members of all golf clubs for their work in ensuring our sport is played in a safe and responsible manner.

In the meantime we will continue to engage with the relevant government authorities and agencies with a view to golf courses reopening as soon as possible.’

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36 responses to “GUI and ILGU release fresh statement on level 5 restrictions”

  1. Russell avatar

    Is there not more social distancing on a golf course than a public park. The nearest we get to making contact is touching putters after a game.
    The ban is ill thought out and lacks scientific logic. The GAA on the other hand can field 30 players running and sweating with constant personal contact. Play their match then go home and pass on whatever might have come their way.
    Golf is safe for goodness sake. Ban GAA games instead.

    1. Danno avatar

      Correct. Keep lobbying your politicians and the gui.

  2. Gavin avatar

    Why are GUI/ILGU dealing with Sport Ireland? Who are the Sport Ireland expert group?
    Sport Ireland funding for golf is 320,000 euro in 2020 – I would gladly pay an extra euro to my annual membership for autonomy from Sport Ireland.
    Is this a government decision, Sport Ireland decision or GUI/ILGU decision?

  3. Eamonn avatar

    Politically expedient decision, with no logic to it. Except maybe to save a little bit of face post Clifden dinner. A collection of prize idiots at that dinner, and not much better in charge now. Far from paying extra to GUI, I would like to withhold sub from them for 2020. Frustrating.

  4. Joe Mahoney avatar
    Joe Mahoney

    More bull $hit from the GUI. Why don’t they demand that GAA sports are also cancelled? No doubt about this – the GUI are complicit in this.

  5. Amazed avatar

    More blah blah from gui. Obviously no backbone in those very expensive blazers which we as club members continue to pay for….

    1. Christy weldon avatar
      Christy weldon

      The gui seem to have no sway at all in any decisions made about the actual sport they represent and sending out memos with we understand and we have to comply is rubbish instead of fighting for members and producing figures to show there’s been no outbreaks stemming from people playing golf. Weak organisation maybe needs to be changed as others have said just withhold your payment to them of clubs should make a decision to remove them in its current form.

  6. Kev lally avatar
    Kev lally

    Makes no sense at all not to play golf.

  7. George avatar

    Can someone from the GUI explain to me the health ramifications re Covid 19 whilst I am on a golf course playing golf. Can that some tell me why walking on a golf course and swinging a golf club is more dangerous than walking down the main street in my town. The GUI have obviously pandered to this nieve government for reasons know only to them. In actual fact and no knowledgeable scientists would disagree with me, we seniors who play the game of golf are being deprived of the very thing that helps keep us healthy. Obviously this applies to ALL golfers not just seniors. Some would tell us to take a 2/3mile walk every day, however can someone tell me why taking a walk would be safer, than walking and playing on your own course. This is just political expediency without any proper thought process and the GUI have obediently accepted.

    1. Joe Mahoney avatar
      Joe Mahoney

      Absolutely right. The GUI are a disgrace. Golfers should insist that their clubs refuse to pay the GUI levy in future. Whatever it is the GUI do, we can quite happily play golf without!

  8. Michae F avatar

    As long as the 5km travel limit remains, I and many others are not permitted to visit our Clubs, even if they were open. What I find difficult to reconcile is why I can’t drive the 12km to my Club to play in relative safety, while GAA players are allowed to drive all over the country to engage in a sport which is far more likely to foster the spread of the virus.

  9. RK Byrne avatar
    RK Byrne

    The only way to get this bunch of incompetent politicians to see sense is to advise your local TD’S ( Donnelly & Harris) in my area that when elections come around you will not forget what THEY have done?
    If we ALL put pressure on them & they don’t comply then WE all know what to do “ Our day will come

  10. Willie harte avatar
    Willie harte

    Absolutely ridiculous rule. So frustrating not to be able to walk safely in 200 acres of open ground without the possibility of any close contact with anyone. Yet you are allowed to shop in an enclosed area where there is 200 other people with every risk of contact.

  11. GARY+STEWART avatar

    Fully agree to with hold GUI fees. Heard Donnelly on the radio, when asked about golf, he hadnt a clue and sidesteped the issue. He didnt know the protocols and that we dont even touch the pin.
    GAA more powerful than GUI.

  12. Christy+mcg avatar

    There is definitely a case to be made regarding the effectiveness or even the need for the GUI in any club in ireland,if you want to be a member of any club you are forced to pay a levy to the gui,the operative word here is FORCED TO PAY without knowing what exactly they do for any member other then sanction gui opens,any clubs committee can effectively run an open indeed any club can do the same,I don’t have a problem with protocols if they make sense but there is absolutely no evidence medical or otherwise to back up this ban,but there is a finger to be pointed at the political fallout of golfgate and that is the only credible explanation for this ban,so get online to your local TD and let them know you won’t forget when the elections come around who’s to blame for this decision, and also call on your club and demand they disassociate themselves from the GUI or your not paying the gui levy,

  13. Ivan leech avatar
    Ivan leech

    It’s not fair we should be able to play 30 players are going to play rugby today how safe is that when playing golf we a distance i think the GUI need to grow a pair of balls

  14. Robert Barry avatar

    I cannot for life of me understand why lads cannot walk around a golf course but you can, travel the Lenght and Breath of Ireland for work. Travel in and out of tesco as much as you like without sign in or out, play a game hurling and travel around afterwards. Go to the off license and get hammered. Travel from Waterford to Dublin to get in a bubble.It’s a joke should keep to level 3 and get on living.

    1. Paddy spurs avatar
      Paddy spurs

      Will be interesting to see how cool the gui will take it when membership will be so slow coming next year. Yellow tits

  15. Sean furlong avatar
    Sean furlong

    Just been down to saint Anne’s park , where the Saturday farmers market is on.Stalls a plenty , aprox. 300 to 400 people in a small area . Queues 20 to 30 deep.
    I left because it was very uncomfortable. And yet I cant go for a game of golf because idiots in sport ireland and the gui say its too risky !! Do me a favour !!!

  16. Kay avatar

    I’m disappointed that golf and P/putt clubs r closed as they were very suitable safe ways to exercise and fill in time for all retired and jobless people. This sport actually helps people stay out of hospitals and helps to give happy times before going into nursing homes !!? Think u got it wrong !!!?

  17. Joe avatar

    I’ve been saying it since we were closed first time around that the GUI do nothing for the ordinary club golfer, it’s all about the Mcilroys of this world that our fees pay for and when it comes to fighting our corner they cave in. Yes I fully agree with clubs withholding fees for next year because it’s the only way of letting them know how bad they are at representing us members.

  18. Joe Kiely avatar
    Joe Kiely

    Gui got it wrong again groups of 2 / 3 /4 players in a 200 acre field absolutely with no close contact with each other or other players equipment they need to get real.

  19. Malachy Whyte avatar
    Malachy Whyte

    They talk about mental health and then they close golf courses where there is no contact throughout the game..there is no rational thinking in this decision..6weeks of lockup with very little social interaction how is this good for mental health. Show me if there have been any clusters traced back to golf courses .I know there are multitudes traced to gaa games but which are still going!!
    I will not say more!!!

  20. david o reilly avatar
    david o reilly

    They should sit down with the clowns who told them golf is not permitted, and act now or resign

  21. Kevin Barry avatar
    Kevin Barry

    After listening to now Minster of health in the dail, he said that he would not make exceptions in sports clubs at moment for fear all sports would want to remain open ,but does he not understand that in this case one size does not fit all.

  22. Tony Finn avatar
    Tony Finn

    A letter writer to the Irish Times today hit the nail on the head. Sports should be analysed by “likelyhood of spreading the virus” and decide which to open and close on that basis. There could be no argument with science based decisions. Funking the hard decisions by politicians is disgraceful. Is that not what we elect them for? Easier to ban everything and tough luck to all the golfers who don’t like it. Politicians, there are several hundred golfers out there who won’t forget this slight when the next election comes along!

  23. marion gorman avatar
    marion gorman

    I am furious that golf clubs are closed, makes no sense at all when gaa and rugby matches are going ahead, the gui and government are a disgrace.

  24. Roy Lyndsay avatar

    I became a member of Virginia Golf Club one week ago and also payed the sub to the GUI, must be the only player to join a club and never get to hit a ball in anger, but surely this can be changed is every club Manager dose his or her job and protest in the strongest possible terms by asklng the GUI to come up with any evidence whereby a single golfer contacted an infection while playing our non contact sport.

  25. Mark Lafford avatar
    Mark Lafford

    The GUI should go grow a pair and stand up for their members .So many members use golf for their own head space , mental health is a huge issue and the open space and the ability to social distance make golf the perfect sport to keep open .. GUI stop rolling over and start fighting for your members ..

  26. Declan O Connell avatar
    Declan O Connell

    Never played a game of golf in my life but like all the golfer’s in the country cannot understand why golf is not allowed under level 5. Golf is one of the easiest sports to easily practice physical distance.
    Maybe paying the golfer’s back for that day out!

  27. Paddy Cooney avatar
    Paddy Cooney

    Desperate gui officials given in so easily get a pair go back in again and demand golf is safe

  28. Thomas Kirwan avatar

    The gui, politicians or Sports Ireland have no respect for the ordinary golfer and that applies to the gui more so as they are supposed to look after the club golfers and they want to remember who pays for those expensive blazers they wear.
    Every club should get their members to sign petitions and send them to the gui and local politicians just to remind the gui where their money comes from and the politicians where the votes come from.

  29. Niall Saul avatar
    Niall Saul

    No use whining as individuals … why not put together a national petition organised via the golf clubs themselves … simply demanding a change to level 5 provisions … stating that … playing golf is permitted subject to each club operating protocols in a strict manner that provide for full observance of all the established requirements in respect of preventing spread of covid -19…. including appropriate , safe social distancing , no physical contact , practices that restrict risk of contracting or spreading covid 19 to zero (eg no handling of scorecards , no touching of flagpoles , or golf equipment of players other than by the player his or herself , as currently observed by clubs ) . All procedures at golf clubs ( eg catering etc ) must comply with level 5 regulations . Any reported breaches of these provisions by any club shall result in the suspension of golf at that club until level 5 restrictions are lifted by the government .
    Such a petition once signed by club members , should be sent in the first instance to the GUI for presentation to government , and each golf club should forward all of the signatures they collect to all TDs and local representatives in their area .
    It is only by such collective , assertive and clearminded action will the views of those who play the sport be clearly communicated to those deciding in the rules , and the position of the GUI will be strengthened in their dealings with Government .

    1. Liam hanlon avatar
      Liam hanlon

      There is no reason in the world, with the protocols in place , why we can not play golf. Its healthy and safe.
      The GUI are very weak in there negotiations with sport Ireland and the government, . Golfing has the strongest claim for staying open. Maybe the GUI should take some advice from the GAA on how to negotiate . Maybe it’s time for the golf clubs to exert pressure on the GUI to go back to sport Ireland / Government and express the outrage of the golfing members through out the country.

    2. Alan Heggie avatar
      Alan Heggie

      Totally agree Niall, its a disgrace. Have signed a petition at my club but every golfer in the country should sign one.

  30. Damien avatar

    Maybe it’s time golfers luck at a different Option then the Gui .thay do nothing for the golfers in Ireland like most Unions there full of shit .and a lot of our clubs are no better. But make no mistake thay will still look for all three fees .thay won’t stand up for us

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