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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Brits are leading the way back to golf

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A couple of weeks ago, when the British Prime Minister outlined his ‘imminent’ plans to ease the restrictions that closed golf facilities in England, the English Golf Union sprung into action immediately and sent an open letter to the PM, pointing out, nay insisting, that golf was an extremely safe activity, safer than many others, such as shopping in a supermarket that have remained unbanned and that golf is at least as safe as going for a walk in one of our public parks – great facilities for families that they are.

Playing a round of golf is much ‘freer’ and more distanced from other walkers than anything you would encounter on the street or in a public park, even in normal times. Any perceived danger of transmitting the virus between golfers (on the course) is so remote as to be non-existent.

The EGU wrote: “For in excess of two million golfers in England, the mental and physical health benefits of playing golf can be clearly documented. This isn’t anecdotal, this is based on solid scientific data. The fact that these benefits can be enjoyed without presenting any undue risk to wider public health is hugely significant. We see no reason why golf can’t be one of the first sports to return, to help with the healing process,” (after a very difficult time).

I am not aware of Golf Ireland writing any similar letter, though the Golf Ireland Twitter account did suggest on Tuesday that “dialogue is ongoing with the relevant gov.bodies here regarding the reopening of sport. Golf will return but at present the priority is the overall health of our communities. We continue to communicate golf as a safe sport with general health & wellbeing benefits.”

Wales Golf went somewhat further, however, indicating it has held ‘positive’ talks with the Welsh Government and wants the fairways reopened as soon as possible (now that Spring is in the air), and is confident that it will be the case. During the lockdown here and in England and Wales, Scottish golf courses have remained open – albeit with strict regulations. How can that be – as if Scottish golfers are the only ones in the British Isles who can be trusted.

Come on, Golf Ireland! Your silence has been deafening. The perceived kowtowing to has gone on for too long. Let us play singles golf, at least, if that is the way it has to be? No golf at all is too much of a burden to bear. A quick trawl through social media will show how unpopular Golf Ireland has become because of their perceived quiescence. Unfair it may be, I’m sure, but perception is often seen as reality.

I dare say many Irish golfers will be envying their British counterparts not only for the much faster roll out of the Coronavirus vaccine they have enjoyed but their expected return to golf on March 4th.

The Brits are leading the way back to golf. Why not us?

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  1. Golf Ireland have indeed been very silent. This is a clear opportunity for the new CEO to put his stamp on his new tenure.

    Pointing to engagement with Sport Ireland will only result in a poor outcome for golf. No one in Sport Ireland wants to undertake an exercise saying “this sport is in and another is out”….they could quickly start to run out of support.

    Golf Ireland are taking the tried and tested route taken by a lot of politicians during this crisis…..”don’t blame me…..NPHET / the HSE / the Dept of Health (delete as appropriate) told me to do this. I’m only the messenger”. Which leads me on to this…..where did the new Golf Ireland CEO come from? He’s a former advisor to Enda Kenny! He’ll be using the exact same playbook that the politicians use!

  2. I’m passing packed parks and playgrounds every day. Playgrounds of about an acre in size with 30+ including parents. If I was playing golf there would be max 2 people per acre. We need outdoor recreation where it is safe. Open the golf courses! Our governing bodies should be fighting tooth and nail for this. They should be projecting how safe golf is! It’s time for sense to prevail. Ditto for tennis

  3. Sadly the non conformance of too many during the previous restrictions put paid to us playing golf, the 5km and 20km limits were blatantly ignored, as were the travelling outside one’s county. Open Golf courses and you will see the exact same behaviours, spoiling it for those of us who did and still do conform.

    • Good man peadar you keep conforming to every instruction you get from the government even when its blatantly obvious that playing golf is safer then walking in a park or a supermarket and theres has not been one case of covid19 that’s been attributed to people travelling outside 5k to play golf,i certainly haven’t seen any,have you,are you seriously suggesting that rugby is safer then golf and only the elite won’t get covid19,,wrong,,they did so why hasn’t it been stopped, have you seen the traffic on the nass rd recently full of your conforming friends,you should look for a job in golf Ireland where all the other conformist reside,

  4. How is, that the general public can walk all over golf courses yet golfers cannot walk around a golf course dragging a set of golf clubs?

  5. The Government and Golf Ireland are afraid to open up Golf Clubs because of Golfgate last year. The longer the reopening remains unmentioned the safer they both feel.

  6. Golfgate had nothing to do with golf… it was the excessive numbers at a function, after the golf that caused all the hullabaloo.

  7. I think golf should come back in the 5th, for all the reasons we already know, but can we not look to the UK for any kind of example? 112,000 people are dead in the UK thanks to how they’ve handled the virus, so let’s make the decision here on its merits, and not because it’s what they’re doing across the Irish Sea.

  8. Sadly, Golf Ireland seem to forget that its the €24.00 that each member of a golf club pays annually that keeps them in their offices in Carton House. I am fairly certain that many clubs will be struggling to pay this full fee in 2021, already we are down 16.6% of our playing year, include March it’s 25%, include April and its 33.3%. If we are closed in March many members will not re join their clubs, this figure will increase drastically if we go in to April + sadly, we will see some clubs go under.

  9. Absolutely amazing that golf ( and fishing) are not permitted to re-open. Two sports that by their very nature encourage social distancing. Golf Ireland seem to be afraid to make any waves or offend our incompetent government. However, from listening to friends who are non golfers, it does seem that golfgate in Galway hasn’t helped the situation at all.

  10. It should be the same 4 everyone when golf resumes – not just because you live in same county as the club you are a member.
    Golf needs restrictions also – people tend 2 forget when on the course!

  11. To who it may concern, golf culbs,and their members need to be judged on merit, and not because they fit into a group of other sports that bare no resemblance to golf .golf is no treath to health and safety so wise up and open up .Kevin Barry

  12. Gui need to step up. This is scientifically the safest sport out there. Exercise, mental health…
    A petition to ensure the opening in March should be organised. We have paid subs,the gui wages etc. This should not be made a political thing because of golfgate! If we sit back and take it we are as bad.


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